I've grown accustomed to mentally translating 'degenerate' to 'having equivalent energy', but the origin of the term always puzzled me, particularly in light of the more traditional English usage.
Etymology of the word suggests that it is formed from Latin prefix 'de-' and Latin root 'genus'. I suppose this is in line with the notion of equivalent energy: for example, because degenerate orbitals have the same energy, it might be impossible to tell their exact nature ("genus") via spectroscopy.
Is this conjecture correct? How does the term 'degenerate semiconductor' fit with it? (edit: I found a related question that says that degenerate electron gas
"is one where more than one electron (in fact two, one in each spin state) occupies each possible low-energy state up to the Fermi energy".
This sounds very similar to the Drude-Sommerfeld description of metals, so I am guessing that 'degenerate doping' refers to putting semiconductors into a regime where Drude-Sommerfield / degenerate electron gas gives an appropriate description of charge carriers)