den·i·grate | \ ˈde-ni-ˌgrāt \
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 \ noun
denigrative \ˈde-ni-ˌgrā-tiv \ adjective
denigrator \-ˌgrā-tər \ noun
denigratory \ˈde-ni-grə-ˌtȯr-ē \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

His behavior could be characterized as bullying and making employees feel denigrated and uncomfortable.’’ Van der Kolk’s firing is already having repercussions in the field. Liz Kowalczyk,, "Allegations of employee mistreatment roil renowned Brookline trauma center," 7 Mar. 2018 At every turn, Trump has questioned and denigrated the alliances and institutions that have kept America safe, prosperous, and free. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 The headline was eventually changed, and Walker said the wine writer didn’t aim to denigrate his work. Kevin Begos, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape," 6 June 2018 That's in part because farm work can be physically demanding, dirty and socially denigrated work. Mary Jo Dudley, CBS News, "These U.S. industries can't work without illegal immigrants," 25 June 2018 Much more than elbow grease' In Glendale, Voelker said, closing Glen Lakes would further denigrate an already struggling neighborhood. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Can golf be saved? Glendale residents rally to save ailing Glen Lakes course," 19 June 2018 Our larger community of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers is too often guilty of denigrating otherwise like-minded people who look different from them or enjoy nature in different ways. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "In Defense of Off-Roading," 12 July 2018 This is while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has reverted to publicly denigrating Israel at every turn. Yori Yalon, Jewish Journal, "Turkey renovates homes and more in Muslim Quarter," 3 July 2018 Presidential candidate George Wallace used his speeches to denigrate and threaten hecklers, singling them out as unpatriotic in a manner later mimicked by candidate Donald Trump. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "As Americans celebrate Independence Day, what does it mean to be a patriot?," 2 July 2018

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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denier à dieu





Statistics for denigrate

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for denigrate

The first known use of denigrate was in 1526

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English Language Learners Definition of denigrate

: to say very critical and often unfair things about (someone)

: to make (something) seem less important or valuable

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