Etymology
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degrade (v.)

late 14c., degraden, "deprive of office, dignity, or honors; reduce from a higher to a lower rank," from Old French degrader (12c.) "degrade, deprive (of office, rank, etc.)," from des- "down" (see dis-) + Latin gradi "to walk, go, step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). From 1640s as "lower in character, cause to deteriorate." Intransitive sense of "degenerate, deteriorate" is by 1850. Related: Degraded; degrading.

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Definitions of degrade

degrade (v.)
reduce the level of land, as by erosion;
degrade (v.)
reduce in worth or character, usually verbally;
Synonyms: take down / disgrace / demean / put down
degrade (v.)
lower the grade of something; reduce its worth;
Synonyms: cheapen
From wordnet.princeton.edu