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

Female rage rises with every dismissed and denigrated allegation of abuse. Megan Feldman Bettencourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Forgiveness Has Been Weaponized Against Women," 25 Sep. 2018 On top of those scandals was Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, whose female-denigrating fraternity rant was leaked to Valleywag in 2014. Alexandra Wolfe, Marie Claire, "Inside the Androgynous Sexual Wasteland of Silicon Valley," 19 Dec. 2016 For one thing, as Margon points out, no U.S. president has spoken about human rights the denigrating way Trump has. Trudy Rubin,, "U.S. withdrawal from U.N. Human Rights Council reflects Trump hypocrisy | Trudy Rubin," 20 June 2018 The report puts the panel at odds with Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, who issued their own report this year, and the president, who has continued to denigrate the intelligence agencies’ assessment. Chris Megerian, Anchorage Daily News, "Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election," 4 July 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near denigrate



denier à dieu





Statistics for denigrate

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for denigrate

The first known use of denigrate was in 1526

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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

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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