den·​i·​grate | \ ˈde-ni-ˌgrāt How to pronounce denigrate (audio) \
denigrated; denigrating

Definition of denigrate

transitive verb

1 : to attack the reputation of : defame denigrate one's opponents
2 : to deny the importance or validity of : belittle denigrate their achievements

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Other Words from denigrate

denigration \ ˌde-​ni-​ˈgrā-​shən How to pronounce denigrate (audio) \ noun
denigrative \ ˈde-​ni-​ˌgrā-​tiv How to pronounce denigrate (audio) \ adjective
denigrator \ ˈde-​ni-​ˌgrā-​tər How to pronounce denigrate (audio) \ noun
denigratory \ ˈde-​ni-​grə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce denigrate (audio) \ adjective

Did you know?

If you "denigrate" someone, you attempt to blacken their reputation. It makes sense, therefore, that "denigrate" can be traced back to the Latin verb denigrare, meaning "to blacken." When "denigrate" was first used in English in the 16th century, it meant to cast aspersions on someone's character or reputation. Eventually, it developed a second sense of "to make black" ("factory smoke denigrated the sky"), but this sense is somewhat rare in modern usage. Nowadays, of course, "denigrate" can also refer to belittling the worth or importance of someone or something.

Examples of denigrate in a Sentence

Her story denigrates him as a person and as a teacher. No one is trying to denigrate the importance of a good education. We all know that it is crucial for success. denigrating the talents and achievements of women
Recent Examples on the Web Those that seek to denigrate the erstwhile pursuit of the AI Confinement Problem are missing the bigger picture. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 May 2022 To be clear, the rat reference wasn’t meant to denigrate the caliber of candidates lining up to compete for the nomination. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 26 Apr. 2022 In France, Macron’s opponents will continue to try to denigrate him, but the reality is that the centre has held, and this is ultimately good news for France and for Europe. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Opponents of the initiative see it as an attempt to denigrate the LBTQ community. al, 11 Mar. 2022 In theory, that would allow the board to act more quickly when doctors denigrate COVID-19 vaccines and endorse unproved treatments, among other things. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2022 The accounts were set up to encourage support of the regime and denigrate the opposition. David Smagalla, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 No one has been able to visit Logan for the better part of a week, for very good reason, but the old man’s first order of business is to denigrate his son. Scott Tobias, Vulture, 20 Dec. 2021 Leaders needn't yell or denigrate people who report concerns to discourage them. Constance Dierickx, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 See More

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

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for denigrate

Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare, from de- + nigrare to blacken, from nigr-, niger black

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Time Traveler for denigrate

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The first known use of denigrate was in 1526

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denier à dieu



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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Denigrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on denigrate

Nglish: Translation of denigrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of denigrate for Arabic Speakers


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