The word degeneracy has more than one meaning:

  • In general, "degeneracy" means "reverting to an earlier, simpler, state"

  • In mathematics, a limiting case in which a class of object changes its nature so as to belong to another, usually simpler, class. See mathematical degeneracy.

  • In physics, the mathematical meaning applies, and also see degenerate matter.

  • The term "moral degeneracy" is sometimes used, based on the concept of atavism.

  • The Nazis described modernist art as "degenerate art".

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