Meaning of degrade

de•grade

Pronunciation: (di-grād' or, for 3, dē-grād'), [key]
— v., -grad•ed, -grad•ing.
—v.t.
  1. to lower in dignity or estimation; bring into contempt: He felt they were degrading him by making him report to the supervisor.
  2. to lower in character or quality; debase.
  3. to reduce (someone) to a lower rank, degree, etc.; deprive of office, rank, status, or title, esp. as a punishment: degraded from director to assistant director.
  4. to reduce in amount, strength, intensity, etc.
  5. to wear down by erosion, as hills. Cf. aggrade.
  6. to break down (a compound, esp. an organic hydrocarbon).
—v.i.
  1. to become degraded; weaken or worsen; deteriorate.
  2. (esp. of an organic hydrocarbon compound) to break down or decompose.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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