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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web The cancellation came a few weeks after U.S. intelligence officials publicly stated that Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate Trump’s opponent, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, ahead of the election. Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "Racial tensions roiling US pose a likely target for election meddling," 5 Sep. 2020 Biden has long voiced public support for NATO and is unlikely to denigrate it as Trump has, Harrison said. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "What a Biden win or four more years of Trump would mean for the military," 4 Sep. 2020 Bill Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, released an intelligence assessment in early August warning Russia is trying to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "DHS and FBI dispute Russian hacking voter rolls story and urge people to doubt 'early, unverified claims'," 1 Sep. 2020 The intelligence community assessed this month that Russia is seeking to denigrate Biden during the 2020 race, while China wants Trump to lose reelection, and Iran is seeking to undermine his presidency. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Former GOP Rep. Susan Molinari, who backed Biden at DNC, used to lobby for Russia," 18 Aug. 2020 President Donald Trump has retweeted an audio recording that U.S. intelligence officials have described as part of a Russian campaign to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Eric Tucker, Star Tribune, "Trump retweets purported audio of Biden call with Ukraine," 17 Aug. 2020 Trump’s presidency, and Russia was attempting to denigrate Joe Biden. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Ron Johnson: Democrats weaponizing ‘Russian disinformation’ narrative to attack Biden-Ukraine investigation," 10 Aug. 2020 That is in no way to denigrate Kendrick Nunn, just to recognize the reality of more upside with Tyler. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Does win total matter for Heat in seeding games?," 1 Aug. 2020 Officials did not say whether the effort behind these particular websites was directly related to the November election, though some of the coverage appeared to denigrate Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden., "Coronavirus not waiting until fall for comeback," 30 July 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

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Denigrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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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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