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

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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 Russia was also actively interfering to denigrate Mr. Biden, while China preferred that Mr. Trump not win-reelection, the statement said. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "Iran Pushed Online Effort to Incite Violence Against Officials Defending U.S. Election Result," 23 Dec. 2020 Among the goals, Graphika found, was to promote Trump’s reelection and denigrate Biden, much as Russians did to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. Washington Post, "Parler and Gab, two conservative social media sites, keep alleged Russian disinformation up, despite report," 7 Oct. 2020 This note is not to denigrate those three, who were put in an impossible position. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "NFL Week 12 winners, losers: Raiders, Colts have costly setbacks," 30 Nov. 2020 This is not noted as a reflection of Amis’s attitude, or even to denigrate the merits of Trollope’s novel from a purely literary perspective. New York Times, "Literature as ‘Sweet and Useful’ and Other Letters to the Editor," 6 Nov. 2020 But the opportunity to denigrate a conservative Israeli leader demands an exception. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "The New York Times’ Misleading ‘Analysis’ of Benjamin Netanyahu," 11 Nov. 2020 Trump has repeatedly used Fauci's old remarks about the coronavirus, such as saying that people didn't need to wear masks at the beginning of the pandemic, in an effort to denigrate and delegitimize the health official. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Anthony Fauci: Trump hasn't met with the coronavirus task force in 'several months'," 23 Oct. 2020 There should be no attempts to denigrate or invalidate the legitimate and transparent counting, or recounting, of ballots. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: The presidential election is over. Stay calm, and let the count carry on.," 5 Nov. 2020 The president went on to denigrate civil servants who served in government before his election. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s historic assault on the civil service was four years in the making," 24 Oct. 2020

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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Last Updated

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Denigrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for denigrate


How to pronounce denigrate (audio)

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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