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Definition to grow worse; or describing a person or situation that is worse in the sense of deviating from what is socially acceptable
  • How then could he have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate?
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
degenerate = different from what is socially acceptable
  • Brother, cease, And don't degenerate to indignities.
    Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere  --  Tartuffe
  • Tutsis had degenerated through long contact with the inferior race of native blacks, the Hutus.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Strength in What Remains
  • Their first session degenerated into the kind of argument they'd been having for months.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Best of Me
  • The more degenerate and base art thou To make such means for her as thou hast done, And leave her on such slight conditions.
    William Shakespeare  --  The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Calling people perverts and degenerates.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • He had been so gentle, so disciplined, and poetic up till then; but now he was degenerating into a low practical jokester.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • But now I heard the words, bestial and filthy and degenerate.
    John Steinbeck  --  Travels with Charley
  • "He says that you are a petty bourgeois degenerate," I was told.
    Richard Wright  --  Black Boy
  • Did you come to see the degenerate?
    Libba Bray  --  Sweet Far Thing
  • The risk is that we who keep wild will go savage—degenerate into a sort of big, savage rat....
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • Half a dozen squatters from a degenerate colony in a brush-hidden hollow, planters of potatoes, suspected thieves, came in noisily drunk.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • Life had degenerated for Snow Flower.
    Lisa See  --  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • The Director thinks I'm a degenerate.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Maelstrom
  • They might continue to evolve, they might degenerate, they might conflict to the point of destruction or gross modification of any or all of them.
    Roger Zelazny  --  My Name is Legion
  • And that's disfigured, degenerate, dark mankind—mere humanity.
    Saul Bellow  --  The Adventures of Augie March
  • It is in order to avoid the misleading term "primitive" that I am calling the undeveloped or degenerate traditions "folk mythologies."
    Joseph Campbell  --  The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • Thousands of scowling priests keeping the degenerate Italians and illiterate Irish repentant with gabble-gabble about the sixth and ninth commandments.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  This Side of Paradise
  • Whoremongers and degenerates!
    Eugene O'Neill  --  Long Day's Journey into Night
  • Old New York scrupulously observed the etiquette of hospitality, and no discussion with a guest was ever allowed to degenerate into a disagreement.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence

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