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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 De·gen·er·ate v. i. [imp. & p. p. Degenerated; p. pr. & vb. n. Degenerating.]
 1. To be or grow worse than one's kind, or than one was originally; hence, to be inferior; to grow poorer, meaner, or more vicious; to decline in good qualities; to deteriorate.
    When wit transgresseth decency, it degenerates into insolence and impiety.   --Tillotson.
 2. Biol. To fall off from the normal quality or the healthy structure of its kind; to become of a lower type.