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degenerate (verb) worsen; deteriorate.
When a person's health degenerates, it worsens. Their condition deteriorates. Standards of education degenerate if they become poorer and poorer. When you say their argument degenerated into a quarrel, you mean that what began as an argument ended up as a quarrel. If morals degenerate they fall; people become less moral. When the quality of service in an organization degenerates, it is going from bad to worse. A gradual worsening of quality is degeneration.
- Allen, who had been an alcoholic, degenerated into a drug addict and is now at a point of no return as far as his drug addiction is concerned.
- The institution once renowned as a premier centre of higher education, has degenerated over the decades into an institution which no one cares to join.