de·​mon·​ize ˈdē-mə-ˌnīz How to pronounce demonize (audio)
demonized; demonizing; demonizes

transitive verb

: to portray (someone or something) as evil or as worthy of contempt or blame : vilify
But the Senate hearings have a broader purpose than exposing I.R.S. sins. They are a central element in a campaign by Congressional Republicans to demonize the tax agency, already the least loved of all Government bureaucracies.John M. Broder
The point is not to demonize business leaders. Their reasons for not hiring make eminent sense, given the incentives of the marketplace and the imperative to remain competitive.Zachary Karabell
Violence in the media has become the whipping boy of choice in these hypocritical times. It's easier to demonize a movie screen than to deal with the thorny issues of crime, racism, drugs, poverty and gun control.Peter Travers
For those who would forge a new environmental ethic, there is a constant temptation to demonize technology and deify nature.Gina Maranto
demonization noun
plural demonizations
In the Washington of Clinton and Gingrich, Dole and Buchanan, … the demonization of one's political foes has reached an epic frenzy. Stryker McGuire and David Ansen

Examples of demonize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Democrats skillfully demonized the Republican governor. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Time for a Public Reckoning on Theft Rampant larceny in America’s major cities is a symptom of a political culture that demonizes police officers and turns a blind eye to nonviolent crime. WSJ, 24 Oct. 2023 Peters is a far-right conspiracy theorist who has regularly demonized Jews and LGBTQ people but is perhaps best known for his extreme anti-vax positions and spreading other falsehoods about Covid-19. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 28 Sep. 2023 Until then, most gay characters in American theater had been veiled or demonized. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2023 In the late nineteen-eighties, as his community was devastated by AIDS and artists were demonized by the Christian right, his art took an explicitly political turn. David O’Neill, The New Yorker, 24 Oct. 2023 Right-wingers again demonize the tiny delta smelt to protect Big Agriculture Aug. 12, 2019 Did this matter for humans? Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2023 For the past several years, a populist government in Warsaw has boosted its popularity by demonizing the Union, its rules on democracy, and its social policy. Ian Bremmer, TIME, 19 Oct. 2023 Pan said that Kennedy’s rhetoric, which often demonizes scientists and health care professionals, is part of a strategy to intimidate and silence them. Michelle R. Smith, Fortune, 18 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demonize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of demonize was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near demonize

Cite this Entry

“Demonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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