de·​mote | \ di-ˈmōt How to pronounce demote (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from demote

demotion \ di-​ˈmō-​shən How to pronounce demotion (audio) , ˌdē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demote


break, bust, degrade, disrate, downgrade, reduce


advance, elevate, promote, raise

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

In all, 61 employees will lose jobs; 188 will be demoted and get lower pay; 537 will be reassigned but not lose pay. Howard Blume,, "New L.A. schools budget includes raises, layoffs," 18 June 2019 Country House won the Kentucky Derby on May 4 -- after first-to-the-wire Maximum Security was demoted to 17th by Churchill Downs stewards for impeding other horses -- then skipped the Preakness. Mark Inabinett |,, "Rewinding the Belmont Stakes 2019: Sir Winston wins," 8 June 2019 Pivetta, who was demoted to the minor leagues in April, retired 17 consecutive batters following Votto’s single. Bobby Nightengale,, "Phillies' Nick Pivetta pitches a complete game as Cincinnati Reds lose 3rd in a row," 8 June 2019 Second baseman Stevie Wilkerson, who was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk this past Monday, is no longer scheduled to attend the event. Giana Han,, ""Brews and O's" gives Orioles fans chance to drink a beer with Trey Mancini at Guinness brewery," 4 June 2019 Instead of being given a chance to heal and return to the academy when ready, Ludlam’s suit says she was forced to choose between getting demoted to a clerical job or getting terminated. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego paying out $240,000 to female police recruit," 3 June 2019 The Pistons underwent a similar process in 2014 after Gores demoted long-time team president Joe Dumars to an advisory role. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Bower still working on Pistons' draft despite job limbo," 16 May 2018 The last time there was a similar situation, poor Pluto somehow got demoted to a dwarf planet, leading to public outcry, said Williams College astronomer Jay Pasachoff, a star-naming committee member. Seth Borenstein, The Seattle Times, "Picture was clear, but black hole’s name a little fuzzy," 15 Apr. 2019 Controversy burst onto the sliding track earlier during the Pyeongchang Games after Kiriasis balked at being demoted from her position as driving coach. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "2018 Winter Olympics: 'New' Jamaican bobsled, not new at all; it's the same sled," 19 Feb. 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.

See More

First Known Use of demote

circa 1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demote

de- + -mote (as in promote)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about demote

Statistics for demote

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demote

The first known use of demote was circa 1891

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce demote (audio) \
demoted; demoting

Kids Definition of demote

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!