from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The process or condition of worsening or degenerating.
- n. Linguistics The process by which the meaning of a word becomes negative or less elevated over a period of time, as silly, which formerly meant "deserving sympathy, helpless or simple,” has come to mean "showing a lack of good sense, frivolous.”
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The act or process of becoming worse; worsening or degeneration
- n. The process by which a word acquires a more negative meaning over time
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Deterioration; a becoming worse: specifically used in Scots law.
- n. Depreciation; a lowering or deterioration of sense in a word.
Medieval Latin pēiōrātiō, pēiōrātiōn-, from Late Latin pēiōrātus, past participle of pēiōrāre, to make worse, from Latin pēior, worse; see ped- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin peior ("worse") (Wiktionary)