v. de·grad·ed, de·grad·ing, de·grades
1. To lower in quality or value; make inferior or less valuable: land that was degraded by overgrazing; a virus that degrades the computer's performance.
2. To lower in dignity; dishonor or disgrace: seemed to feel that he was degrading himself in accepting the invitation. See Synonyms at debase.
3. To reduce in grade, rank, or status; demote.
4. Geology To lower or wear away by erosion or weathering.
5. To cause (an organic compound) to undergo degradation.
1. To fall to a lower rank or status.
2. To undergo degradation; decompose: a chemical that degrades rapidly.
[Middle English degraden, from Old French degrader, from Late Latin dēgradāre : Latin dē-, de- + Latin gradus, step; see ghredh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.