1. The process of degenerating.
2. The state of being degenerate.
3. Medicine Gradual deterioration of specific tissues, cells, or organs with corresponding impairment or loss of function, caused by injury, disease, or aging.
4. Biology The evolutionary decline or loss of a function, characteristic, or structure in an organism or species.
5. Electronics Loss of or gain in power in an amplifier caused by unintentional negative feedback.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.