de·​mote | \ di-ˈmōt , ˌdē-\
demoted; demoting

Definition of demote

transitive verb

1 : to reduce to a lower grade or rank demote a student was demoted from major to captain
2 : to relegate to a less important position a pitcher demoted to the bullpen

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Other Words from demote

demotion \ -​ˈmō-​shən \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demote


break, bust, degrade, disrate, downgrade, reduce


advance, elevate, promote, raise

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Examples of demote in a Sentence

Teachers can choose to demote a student to a lower grade. The army major was demoted to captain.

Recent Examples on the Web

Could the president effectively demote the Fed chair, stripping the top title but leaving him or her on the board of governors? Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Q&A: Can Trump Remove Powell as Fed Chairman?," 26 Dec. 2018 The French midfielder only played 25 of United's 38 Premier League games last season and was demoted to the bench on several occasions., "Paul Pogba Admits to 'Small Issues' With Man Utd Boss & Hints This World Cup Could Be His Last," 25 June 2018 If a story is identified as false, Facebook will demote them in the news feed and will warn users who try to post those stories. Casey Newton, The Verge, "There’s a crack at the heart of Facebook’s advertising business," 4 Oct. 2018 Another employee was demoted for complaining about the change. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Head of NYC Investigative Agency Made Improper Staff Changes, Probe Finds," 11 Oct. 2018 Kern has been investigated three times for misconduct since 2016, and earlier this year, he was demoted from showrunner to a consultant, shortly before the third investigation commenced. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Les Moonves’s resignation is the most significant #MeToo moment yet," 12 Sep. 2018 In 2013, two members of the department’s command staff were demoted for failing to report their extramarital affair. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Bellevue puts Police Chief Steve Mylett on leave, citing unspecified allegations," 4 Aug. 2018 The adviser was demoted; the corrections official resigned, though the governor’s office attributed his departure to reasons other than the harassment claim. Anna North, Vox, "How Republicans are using the language of #MeToo against Democrats," 24 Oct. 2018 State officials later said she would be demoted from her $112,000-a-year position and return under a different title, with a $90,000 salary. Matt Stout,, "Baker defends medical examiner for keeping top aide who ‘misrepresented’ resume," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demote.' 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 demote

circa 1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demote

de- + -mote (as in promote)

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Statistics for demote

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demote

The first known use of demote was circa 1891

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More Definitions for demote



English Language Learners Definition of demote

: to change the rank or position of (someone) to a lower or less important one


de·​mote | \ di-ˈmōt \
demoted; demoting

Kids Definition of demote

: to reduce to a lower grade or rank He was demoted to private.

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More from Merriam-Webster on demote

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demote

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demote

Spanish Central: Translation of demote

Nglish: Translation of demote for Spanish Speakers

Comments on demote

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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