de·​mor·​al·​ize | \di-ˈmȯr-ə-ˌlīz, ˌdē-, -ˈmär-\

Definition of demoralize 

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right : to corrupt the morals of

2a : to weaken the morale of : discourage, dispirit were demoralized by the loss

b : to upset or destroy the normal functioning of foreclosures were further demoralizing an already desperate real-estate market— F. D. Roosevelt

c : to throw into disorder

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Other Words from demoralize

demoralization \di-​ˌmȯr-​ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən, ˌdē-​, -​ˌmär-​ \ noun
demoralizer \di-​ˈmȯr-​ə-​ˌlī-​zər, ˌdē-​, -​ˈmär-​ \ noun
demoralizingly \-​ziŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for demoralize


emasculate, paralyze, undo, unman, unnerve, unstring



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Examples of demoralize in a Sentence

the mere sight of the forbidding cliffs demoralized the climbers we refused to be demoralized by our humiliating defeat and vowed to come roaring back the following week

Recent Examples on the Web

The terrain wasn’t likely to get any easier for the GOP Congress member, with Democrats energized and Republicans demoralized. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Democrats can win a whole lot of House seats in Pennsylvania," 28 Mar. 2018 This is why so many people were demoralized earlier this week. Andrew Sharp,, "The NBA is Broken, But Not Because of DeMarcus Cousins," 5 July 2018 It isn’t helped by the inappropriate conduct and speech of public figures, which degrades this country and threatens to demoralize our children. Joe Lieberman, WSJ, "A Holiday for the Rule of Law," 17 May 2018 Nobody did more to demoralize Virginia than Lyles, who finished with 28 points and made nine of 11 shots, wrecking any notion of UMBC collapsing down the stretch. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "How UMBC pulled off the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history," 17 Mar. 2018 When women who are treated harshly in a workplace don’t just lean in and get brassy, but become demoralized, like Messi. Eve Fairbanks, The New Republic, "The World in a World Cup," 5 July 2018 Sol was furious and depressed and demoralized and ashamed and disappointed and drunk. Melissa Fay Greene, The Cut, "A mother considers her son’s final thoughts and a type of suicide we don’t fully understand.," 24 June 2018 After a heartbreaking blunder in Game 1, the Cavaliers returned in Game 2 looking completely demoralized against the Warriors. Charlotte Wilder,, "The Warriors Broke the Cavaliers’ Spirit, And it Looks Unlikely They’ll Get it Back," 4 June 2018 Conservatives worry that action on that kind of legislation would demoralize or infuriate the party’s base supporters, threatening to depress GOP turnout in an election that has seen Democrats energized. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Farm Bill’s Defeat Marks Setback for Paul Ryan," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demoralize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of demoralize

circa 1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for demoralize

The first known use of demoralize was circa 1793

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English Language Learners Definition of demoralize

: to cause (someone) to lose hope, courage, or confidence : to weaken the morale of (a person or group)


de·​mor·​al·​ize | \di-ˈmȯr-ə-ˌlīz \
demoralized; demoralizing

Kids Definition of demoralize

: to weaken the spirit or confidence of Yet another defeat demoralized the team.

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More from Merriam-Webster on demoralize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demoralize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demoralize

Spanish Central: Translation of demoralize

Nglish: Translation of demoralize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on demoralize

What made you want to look up demoralize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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