V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. to make something worse in quality or performance; 2. to cause somebody or something a humiliating loss of status, reputation, or self-esteem

Synonyms: reduce, lessen, humiliate, debase, demean, weaken, dilute, cheapen, corrupt, deprave, degenerate, downgrade, adulterate

Antonyms: improve, enhance, dignify

Tips: Degrade comes from the Latin word degradare, "to reduce in rank." Reduction of rank was a humiliating experience for Roman soldiers, and the word's modern meaning (applied to people) has kept this sense of ignominious loss of status. Its meaning of lowering the quality of something (applied to things) has removed the idea of humiliation, while keeping the idea of a reduction in status or quality. The noun degradation refers to a low or reduced state or the changing into that state. See demean and debase for additional synonyms.

Usage Examples:

The recent budget cuts threaten to degrade the quality of our products unless we scale back our production capacity. (weaken, lessen)

The teacher's degrading remarks made the entire class feel sorry for Jim. (demeaning, debasing, humiliating) adjective

Some people feel that beauty and fashion magazines can actually degrade a woman's self-confidence. (reduce, weaken)

Not only did I not receive the promotion I wanted, I actually got degraded to a lower position because of budget cuts. (downgraded, demoted)

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