Definition of denigrate
- denigrate one's opponents
- denigrate their achievements
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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
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.
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.
First Known Use: 1526See Words from the same year
: to say very critical and often unfair things about (someone)
: to make (something) seem less important or valuable
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