1. To reduce from a higher to a lower rank or degree; to lower in rank to deprive of office or dignity; to strip of honors; as, to degrade a nobleman, or a general officer. Prynne was sentenced by the star chamber Court to be degraded from the bar. (Palfrey)
2. To reduce in estimation, character, or reputation; to lessen the value of; to lower the physical, moral, or intellectual character of; to debase; to bring shame or contempt upon; to disgrace; as, vice degrades a man. O miserable mankind, to what fall degraded, to what wretched state reserved! (Milton) He pride . . . Struggled hard against this degrading passion. (Macaulay)
3. (Science: geology) to reduce in altitude or magnitude, as hills and mountains; to wear Down.
Synonym: to abase, demean, lower, reduce. See Abase.
Origin: f. Degrader, LL. Degradare, fr. L. De- – gradus step, degree. See grade, and cf. Degree.
(Science: biology) to degenerate; to pass from a higher to a lower type of structure; as, a family of plants or animals degrades through this or that genus or group of genera.