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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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Having become worse than one's kind, or one's former state; having declined in worth; having lost in goodness; deteriorated; degraded; unworthy; base; low. Faint-hearted and degenerate king. (Shak) A degenerate and degraded state. (Milton) Degenerate from their ancient blood. (Swift) These degenerate days. (Pope) I had planted thee a noble vine . ., how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (Jer. Ii. 21)

Origin: L. Degeneratus, p. P. Of degenerare to degenerate, cause to degenerate, fr. Degener base, degenerate, that departs from its race or kind; de- _ genus race, kind. See kin relationship.

1. To be or grow worse than one's kind, or than one was originally; hence, to be inferior; to grow poorer, meaner, or more vicious; to decline in good qualities; to deteriorate. When wit transgresseth decency, it degenerates into insolence and impiety. (Tillotson)

2. (Science: biology) to fall off from the normal quality or the healthy structure of its kind; to become of a lower type.

Origin: Degenerated; Degenerating.