denigrate

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from denigrate

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

Recent Examples on the Web

The president has cast himself as a seasoned statesman capable of standing up to Russian pressure and sought to denigrate his rival as a rookie who would become easy prey for the Kremlin. Geir Moulson, The Seattle Times, "France’s Macron meets Ukraine’s 2 presidential contenders," 12 Apr. 2019 The book debuted with little fanfare and only became well-known once journalists and the public began denigrating Dunleavy, a former tabloid reporter, over his allegations about Elvis's drug use and carousing. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Inside the Enduring Mysteries of Elvis Presley's Death," 16 Mar. 2019 And one of the more common ways to denigrate an opponent in such an argument is to play the purity card. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This isn’t a game: We try out a professional driver-in-the-loop simulator," 9 Aug. 2018 Some New Testament passages in which Paul denigrates women were actually inserted later by male church leaders threatened by Paul's radically inclusive vision, Crossan says. John Blake, CNN, "How Easter became a #MeToo moment," 30 Mar. 2018 Many of them cited Trump’s statements denigrating minorities, Muslims, women and the LGBTQ population. Tom Foreman Jr., The Seattle Times, "Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte," 1 Oct. 2018 President Trump is openly denigrating the Federal Reserve on Twitter. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Behind the Market Swoon: The Herdlike Behavior of Computerized Trading," 25 Dec. 2018 Tennis superstar Serena Williams, for example, got denigrated after arguing with, and demanding an apology from, a U.S. Open umpire who issued her a series of violations. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "For Female Political Candidates, Sometimes the Biggest Threat Isn’t Losing an Election," 17 Sep. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about denigrate

Listen to Our Podcast about denigrate

Statistics for denigrate

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for denigrate

The first known use of denigrate was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for denigrate

denigrate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of denigrate

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on denigrate

What made you want to look up denigrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a tendency to relapse

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!