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

Even if the entire baseball world admits the offensive numbers are skewed, Yastrzemski's cannot be denigrated on the whole because of his story. Henry Schulman,, "Giants get six homers — three from Mike Yastrzemski — in crazy 11-inning victory," 17 Aug. 2019 Puerto Ricans also overwhelmingly despise Trump, who repeatedly denigrated hurricane survivors and keeps trying to withhold disaster aid. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Democrats ignored Puerto Rico at the last debate. Here’s what they should focus on now.," 30 July 2019 Toy Story 4 manages to both sidestep its predecessor’s finale without denigrating it, either. Josh Spiegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Toy Story 4' Says Goodbye (Again)," 23 June 2019 In order to sustain this system, Harvard admissions systematically denigrated the highest achieving group of students in America. Fox News, "Harvard Is Accused of Racism Against Asians, but the Case Is Complicated," 29 June 2018 Conservatives denigrated Ibsen as salacious and intent on undermining all that was true and beautiful; others viewed him as a fearless truth-teller and prophet. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Conservative," 16 Sep. 2019 Republicans selected Baltimore as the site for their annual retreat before the president’s comments denigrating the city. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "Trump Trashes Warren, Biden as 2020 Democrats Debate in Houston," 12 Sep. 2019 In July, the director of the organization’s New York-New Jersey region sent a letter to the publisher of The Jewish Press expressing concerns about articles denigrating LGBTQ people. Josefin Dolsten,, "ADL speaks out against Jewish publication over articles attacking LGBTQ community," 30 Aug. 2019 Britain’s Brexiteers and Remainers denigrate each other as immoral, driving politics to the extremes because compromising with the enemy is treachery. The Economist, "The corrupting of democracy," 29 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for denigrate

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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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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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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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