from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To diminish or impair in quality, character, or value: Time and neglect had deteriorated the property.
  • intransitive v. To grow worse; degenerate: The weather deteriorated overnight. His health had deteriorated while he was in prison.
  • intransitive v. To weaken or disintegrate; decay: The nation's highways are deteriorating at a rapid pace.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make worse; to make inferior in quality or value; to impair.
  • v. To grow worse; to be impaired in quality; to degenerate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To grow worse; to be impaired in quality; to degenerate.
  • transitive v. To make worse; to make inferior in quality or value; to impair.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make worse; reduce in quality; lower the essential character or constitution of: as, to deteriorate a race of men or their condition.
  • To grow worse; be or become impaired in quality; degenerate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. grow worse
  • v. become worse or disintegrate


Late Latin dēteriōrāre, dēteriōrāt-, from Latin dēterior, worse; see de- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


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  • The dirt heats up earlier in deteriorate as good as stays warmer for longer during a finish of a season, to illustrate extending a altogether flourishing window.

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  • Sunday opened with nice but shifty winds from the West at 8-11kts but it was spotty, the National Yacht Club RC jumped on the opportunity and banged off two good races before the wind started to really deteriorate, that is all we could get for the day. USA Latest News

  • They will shake their heads and ask how; we allowed our language to "deteriorate," taking our culture with it.

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  • Although I have yet to see any kind of digital media 'deteriorate' so maybe it's not as bad as some people would make it seem...

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