Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

degrade - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     degrade pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participledegrading
past tensedegraded
past participledegraded
  1. 1
    [transitive] to treat someone in a way that makes them stop respecting themselves or that makes other people stop respecting them
  2. 2
    [transitive] formal to make something worse

    Under no circumstances can the quality of nursing be allowed to be degraded.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] science if a substance degrades, it separates into the different substances that it consists of
quiz invitation


a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play