Definition of degrade in English:

degrade

verb

  • 1[with object] Treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect.

    ‘she thought that many supposedly erotic pictures degraded women’
    • ‘Working for a low minimum wage should not even be considered ‘honest work’ because the experience degrades you.’
    • ‘That is because poverty degrades individuals and robs them of dignity and worth.’
    • ‘These are really two entirely different problems: lack of encouragement is not the same as someone degrading you as a person or telling you your project will never work.’
    • ‘‘I felt degraded by being sacked,’ he later explained.’
    • ‘Usually she refuses to think in terms of male and female, saying, for instance, ‘pornography degrades men just as much as it does women’.’
    • ‘One of the main reasons I believe its illegal is because many people see it as a very wrong thing to do, it degrades women and turns them into objects.’
    • ‘We also believe that practically any country that degrades women or any country that cuts them off from the vital life of the country is making a very big mistake.’
    • ‘A criminal might deserve to be tortured; we refuse to torture him nonetheless, because to do so degrades us.’
    • ‘The Peer said: ‘We are degraded by what is being done in our name.’’
    • ‘The squandering of funds and reported misuse of the resources have already degraded the personality of the hero that the movie wants to depict.’
    • ‘Besides the racial slur, it degrades the character of the mother.’
    • ‘And both are scared of reality TV - ostensibly because it degrades people, but actually because it shoves real, imperfect people in the faces of hoity-toity reactionary and liberal alike.’
    • ‘Imperialism, which has always been chummy with and supportive of its fascist kin, will play its historical role in degrading the people, dividing the society, and destroying the nation.’
    • ‘Our Dace Hall music culture, which is saluted by the youth, is one that frequently degrades women in its lyrics as well.’
    • ‘You sound like an intelligent woman, however, your use of foul language degrades you and anyone else who uses it.’
    • ‘And our soldiers are degraded and insulted on their own soil.’
    • ‘They degrade members of our community who provide us with services.’
    • ‘He is just offended by an incongruous adaptation, which, in his opinion, undermines his own concept by degrading his heroine.’
    • ‘I'm not into computer games, or that teacher, or talking about teachers, or degrading women.’
    • ‘And second, we are killing, we are degrading our heroes, and that is a mistake.’
    humiliated, demeaned, debased, cheapened, cheap, ashamed, abased
    demean, debase, cheapen, devalue, prostitute, lower the status of, reduce, shame, humiliate, bring shame to, humble, mortify, abase, disgrace, dishonour
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    1. 1.1Lower the character or quality of.
      ‘repeaters clean up and amplify the degraded signal’
      • ‘The good news is that there is a similar lag when quality is degraded.’
      • ‘In the future, we'll use well water so as not to degrade the quality of mountain water products.’
      • ‘Decades of harmful land use practices have degraded water quality in much of the species' historic habitat, leaving only a few remnant populations.’
      • ‘The all-digital DVI stream avoids any conversion to analog, which can degrade the signal.’
      • ‘Sprouting, which may appear as a swelling from the shoot at the germ portion of the grain, degrades wheat quality.’
      • ‘In addition to harming the genetic composition of wild salmon, the conservationist maintains that hatcheries can degrade stream water quality and spread disease.’
      • ‘This is because stores often hook up many TVs to one video source, degrading image quality across all the screens.’
      • ‘And the more you did, the less attention you could give to each, so the quality went down, so the nett result was very, very degraded quality in education.’
      • ‘They can degrade air quality far from their sources.’
      • ‘Usually, the quality of knowledge is degraded.’
      • ‘While the substance that degrades or lowers the quality of food is an adulterant.’
      • ‘This causes a discontinuity that degrades the audio quality.’
      • ‘Such information is transformed to the brain cells and keeps the nervous centralis highly excited, thus degrading the quality of sleep.’
      • ‘Moreover, the presence of large numbers of tourists degrades the quality of the wilderness experience for everyone.’
      • ‘What part did public policy actually play in degrading the quality of life in these places below accepted standards of human health and decency?’
      • ‘And if we make it so tough that quality of life is degraded, we're not going to see those recruitments meeting the goal.’
      • ‘Through the innumerable small acts of everyday life, we slowly but steadily degrade the quality of the earth's air, water, soil and diversity of species.’
      • ‘A recent article reported that lagoons and sprayfields for animal waste near streams and watercourses may be significantly degrading water quality and endangering human health.’
      • ‘Soil and water quality have been seriously degraded.’
      • ‘Able to survive extremely degraded water quality, they can live in areas where other fish have been pushed out by pollution.’
    2. 1.2archaic Reduce (someone) to a lower rank, especially as a punishment.
      ‘he was degraded from his high estate’
      • ‘He was degraded from his orders, and being even in danger of assassination, took refuge with Douglas of Longniddry, and there remained until the end of 1545’
      • ‘He was degraded from his dukedom in 1399, and was beheaded in January of the following year for conspiring against Henry IV.’
      • ‘It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority.’
      • ‘He was degraded from the grandeeship and exiled to the Philippines.’
  • 2Break down or deteriorate chemically.

    [no object] ‘when exposed to light, the materials will degrade’
    [with object] ‘the bacteria will degrade hydrocarbons’
    • ‘Diamonds, symbols of eternity, are not forever - they will eventually degrade to worthless graphite.’
    • ‘If the temperature is too high, the polymer can be degraded.’
    • ‘Depilatories are put on skin to chemically degrade body hair.’
    • ‘Because PVC is degraded by light, it requires a minimum of 12 inches of clean soil cover placed over the liner to function as designed.’
    • ‘Over time, however, it oxidizes and chemically degrades to form alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, acids and esters.’
    • ‘Again like all proteins in the body, collagen has a finite life span after which it is degraded to the constituent amino acids and replaced by new fibres.’
    • ‘Soy oil polymers must be heated to over 400°C before they degrade, making them more thermally stable than polyethylene or polystyrene.’
    • ‘Think about how plastic and rubber (made from hydrocarbons) degrade under exposure to sunlight.’
    • ‘They showed that quinotoxine could be degraded to a compound called homomeroquinene, and then they demonstrated the reverse synthesis of homomeroquinene to quinotoxine.’
    • ‘Proleases are enzymes that have the capacity to hydrolyze peptide bonds and degrade other proteins.’
    • ‘It can only be removed using a paint stripper which degrades the polymer.’
    • ‘This means that telomer alcohols are unlikely to degrade to carboxylic acids in city air.’
    • ‘These high concentrations can overload the ability of the soil to adsorb and degrade herbicides.’
    • ‘This would mean that the decaying matter was buried (most likely under water) before it could be completely degraded to carbon dioxide and water.’
    • ‘Soon, another graduate student there will work with Samac on expressing a new gene so that plants can degrade enough atrazine to be useful in cleaning up contaminated soil and water.’
    • ‘Even those single molecules must be further degraded by sunlight or slow oxidative breakdown before their constituents can be recycled into the building blocks of life.’
    • ‘High levels of oxidants cause tissue injury by peroxidizing membrane lipids, degrading proteins, and oxidizing DNA.’
    • ‘Strong alkaline cleaners can remove or degrade the fluoro-polymers (which are not bonded to the concrete).’
    • ‘The wild type molecule at the cell surface cycles from the membrane to sacs within the cell interior called endocytic vesicles where it may be degraded.’
    • ‘Some materials are better degraded under anaerobic conditions than under aerobic conditions.’
    break down, deteriorate, degenerate, decay, atrophy
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    1. 2.1Physics
      [with object]Reduce (energy) to a less readily convertible form.
      • ‘All of this energy eventually degrades to heat and has to be either stored in the soil beneath the cities, radiated away, or convected away.’
      • ‘On an orbiting satellite, energetic particle exposure degrades the efficiency of the solar-cell panels used to provide operating power.’
      • ‘Energy is always degraded to a less useful form.’
      • ‘However, if I remember correctly all energy eventually degrades to heat energy, right?’
      • ‘Heat death will occur when all the energy of the cosmos has been degraded to random heat energy, with random motions of molecules and uniform low-level temperatures.’
    2. 2.2Geology
      [with object]Wear down (rock) and cause it to disintegrate.
      • ‘While stabilized and vegetated, the dune fields are often degraded, since in some cases it has been many thousands of years since they were last active.’
      • ‘Three other profiles, measured across the portion of the scarp degraded by a landslide, also share distinctive features.’
      • ‘We have seen no evidence that this degraded fault-line scarp is Holocene active.’
      • ‘As such, some peatlands are relict landforms, no longer actively accumulating peat, while other peatlands may even be slowly degrading, some even back to their mineral wetland origins.’
      • ‘Under the assumption that landforms unaffected by drainage channels are degraded according to the linear diffusion equation, a procedure is developed to invert a scarp profile to find its ‘diffusion age.’’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French degrader, from ecclesiastical Latin degradare, from de- down, away from + Latin gradus step or grade.

Pronunciation:

degrade

/dəˈɡrād/