In conversation with 2 native speakers I said:

In den Jahren seit seinem Tod ist Fatimas psychische Gesundheit entartet.

and they corrected me to:

In den Jahren seit seinem Tod hat sich Fatimas psychische Gesundheit verschlechtert.

What is incorrect about the first sentence?

The English sentence I was attempting to translate is:

In the years since his death, Fatima's mental health has degenerated.

  • Are you a real person? You questions always start with "In conversation with 2 native speakers I said:" then there is an example that is introducef by: " In conversation with 2 native speakers I said: ... they corrected me to ..." I think, that's a bot.
    – Olafant
    Jul 30, 2021 at 18:00
  • No, I am not a bot. But I do have a lot of conversations with these 2 native speakers.
    – user44591
    Jul 30, 2021 at 18:07
  • 1
    Well, I understand your doubt. But it is true. The full story is that they want to learn Norwegian and I want to learn German. So I translate Norwegian lessons into English (with Google Translate) and then into German and they correct my German while practicing Norwegian. The lessons happen to be about the healthcare system in Norway. We do this once every week for going on 2 years. I am happy to provide additional documentation as you wish.
    – user44591
    Jul 30, 2021 at 18:31
  • 4
    I wouldn't necessarily use the words "entarten" or "entarten" at all. At least since the nazis referred to modern art with the derisive term entartete Kunst, the words have somewhat of a taint. In general, I don't like to let those bleep decide which words I can and can't use, but "entartet" still feels kind of touchy. Jul 30, 2021 at 19:15
  • 2
    @HenningKockerbeck: Well, "entartet" has a very narrowly defined use in a math/computer science context, where an "entarteter Baum" is a tree (hierarchy) structure that does not actually fork into several branches at any point. Other than that, I agree the word has pretty much fallen out of use for the reasons described. Aug 2, 2021 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


"Entarten" is not a verb that can be used to describe the change of "Gesundheit", and it is not a valid translation of "to degenerate".

Valid translations for "to degenerate" are:

  • degenerieren

    Unsere westliche Gesellschaft ist zu einer Raff-Gesellschaft degeneriert.

  • verkommen

    Durch deinen Lebenswandel bist du gegenüber früher regelrecht verkommen.

More translations can be found on leo.dict.org.

"Entarten" means to become something from a worse kind, class or species (Engl. kind, species = Germ. Art).

Verbs that can describe a change of healthiness are:

  • verbessern

Fatimas Gesundheit hat sich verbessert.
Fatima's health has improved.

  • verschlechtern

Fatimas Gesundheit hat sich verschlechtert.
Fatima's health has declined.

Her healthiness doesn't become something else. It just becomes worse without changing the fact that it still is healthiness.

  • Copied from Leo.dict.org: to degenerate (into sth.): zu etw. (or: in etw.) entarten
    – user44591
    Jul 30, 2021 at 17:37
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    ""Entarten" means to become something from a worse kind, class or species" - I always understood it to mean that something leaves the boundaries of a definied species, compare "aus der Art schlagen". Jul 30, 2021 at 19:16
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    Neither 'degenerieren' nor 'verkommen' are a good fit in German for a declining health of a person, even more so for what could be a 'psychischer Verfall'. Pity we don't know what OP wants to express.
    – user41853
    Jul 30, 2021 at 20:26

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