What does it mean to have degenerative arthritis?

Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is characterized by degeneration of cartilage (and later, bone) that affects how a joint moves and tolerates loads and stresses. Advancing age and trauma worsen the degeneration. In weight bearing joints, obesity also accelerates the progression.
Degenerative arthrit. This refers to a disease process that alters the anatomy of the bones especially in the areas of joints and vertebra. The area is altered by a degeneration process and usually causes pain in the affected areas. This is a different process than the inflammatory arthric diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.