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.
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.
To reduce in altitude or magnitude, as hills and mountains; to wear down.
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.
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. Frederick Douglass
Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness. Mahatma Gandhi
An elite class that is free to operate without limits - whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior - is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power. Glenn Greenwald