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the act of .
the state of being .
Physical Geography. the wearing down of the land by the erosive action of water, wind, or ice.
Chemistry. the breakdown of an organic compound.
Contemporary Examples

“Since this past November, you have seen the slow and steady drumbeat of degradation,” Steele says.
The New, Not Necessarily Improved, Chris Christie Lloyd Grove December 29, 2013

He woefully underestimated the depth of the degradation of this world.
Daddy Runs a Meth Lab Joel Keller March 7, 2009

So it is with Just Send Me Word, a heroic love story amid the squalor and degradation of the Gulag.
‘Just Send Me Word’ by Orlando Figes: Life and Love in the Gulag Owen Matthews June 9, 2012

Their sexual relations were romantic; there were no sex toys, latex, or degradation.
The Mystery of the S&M Banker’s Death Eric Pape June 13, 2009

Palin is its perfect representative, a constant reminder of its degradation.
Run, Sarah, Run! Michelle Goldberg July 22, 2009

Historical Examples

Their degradation made him ready to endure all things if only he could pierce the black cloud overshading them.
A Story of One Short Life, 1783 to 1818 Elisabeth G. Stryker

She had very honourable alliances, and yet she has thought it no degradation to be governess to Madame de Pompadour’s daughter.
The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete Madame du Hausset, an “Unknown English Girl” and the Princess Lamballe

It is only in this degradation of sordid misery that he is shown to us in the Alchemist of Jonson.
Amenities of Literature Isaac Disraeli

He was right at the bottom now, in the last state of degradation.
Fruitfulness Emile Zola

degradation and slavery were to be the portion of the learned Egyptians, but utter extinction is the doom of mighty Babylon.
Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith Robert Patterson

the act of degrading or the state of being degraded
a state of degeneration, squalor, or poverty
some act, constraint, etc, that is degrading
the wearing down of the surface of rocks, cliffs, etc, by erosion, weathering, or some other process
(chem) a breakdown of a molecule into atoms or smaller molecules
(physics) an irreversible process in which the energy available to do work is decreased
(RC Church) the permanent unfrocking of a priest

1530s, from French dégradation (14c., Old French degradacion), from Medieval Latin degradationem (nominative degradatio), noun of action from past participle stem of degradare (see degrade).

degradation deg·ra·da·tion (děg’rə-dā’shən)
Progressive decomposition of a chemical compound into a less complex compound.


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