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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web 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 The 22-year-old Wang, who also goes by the English name Karry, had cut ties with Dolce & Gabbana in 2018 after the Italian brand posted a video deemed by many to denigrate Chinese people. Fortune, 23 Dec. 2021 That doesn't denigrate his impact on the Sooners, who have looked like a completely different team in the six full quarters that the true freshman has been running the offense. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 19 Oct. 2021 In addition to the military buildup, the intelligence suggests a Russian influence campaign meant to denigrate Ukraine's leaders. Aj Willingham, CNN, 6 Dec. 2021 Intelligence officials also have seen an uptick in Russian propaganda efforts through the use of proxies and media outlets to denigrate Ukraine and NATO ahead of a potential invasion, the official said. Anchorage Daily News, 4 Dec. 2021 In a high-stakes, cutthroat business, where people often root for their competitors to fail, Horn has never been one to denigrate rivals or speak disparagingly about others, at least not to me in our many, many conversations. Claudia Eller, Variety, 13 Oct. 2021 Expect that some teammates will interpret time with the new leader as an ideal opportunity to denigrate other co-workers. Jason Randall, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of denigrate was in 1526

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Dictionary Entries Near denigrate

denier à dieu



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Last Updated

2 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Denigrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for denigrate



English Language Learners Definition of denigrate

: to say very critical and often unfair things about (someone)
: to make (something) seem less important or valuable

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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