adjective1 : not spiritually reborn or converted 2 a : not reformed : unreconstructed b : obstinate, stubborn
“She sings … in a voice that could melt the heart of the most unregenerate musical hater.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, May 18, 2008
“A string of revivals later known as the Great Awakening blazed up and down the eastern seaboard—although scholars suspect that many of these new converts soon backslid into their unregenerate ways.” — Molly Worthen, The Daily Beast, June 1, 2014
Did you know?
One long-standing meaning of the adjective “regenerate” is “spiritually reborn or converted.” By the late 1500s, English speakers had added “un-” to “regenerate” to describe someone who refused to accept spiritual reformation. Since then, “unregenerate” has taken on a life of its own, gaining the extended specific meanings of “unconverted to a particular doctrinaire viewpoint,” “persisting in a reactionary stand,” or just plain “stubborn.” “Regenerate” and “unregenerate” trace back to the Latin word “genus,” meaning “birth” or “descent.”