der·​o·​gate ˈder-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce derogate (audio)
derogated; derogating

transitive verb

: to cause to seem inferior : disparage
derogating another's achievements

intransitive verb

: to take away a part so as to impair : detract
… a few instances of inaccuracy or mediocrity can never derogate from the superlative merit of Homer and Vergil …Oliver Goldsmith
: to act beneath one's position or character
derogation noun
derogative adjective

Did you know?

Most of us encounter derogatory, the adjective meaning "expressing a low opinion," more frequently than we do derogate, its less common verb relation, but the verb is older; it first appeared in English in the 15th century, while derogatory wasn't adopted until the early 16th. Both words can be traced back to the Late Latin word derogatus, which is the past participle of the verb derogare, meaning "to detract" or "to annul (a law)." Derogare, in turn, derives from the Latin word for "ask," rogāre. Other derogate relatives include derogative, derogation, and derogatorily.

Examples of derogate in a Sentence

The title of the book derogates the people it is about. Her parents are constantly derogating her achievements.
Recent Examples on the Web Recent nonexperimental studies suggest that women are intolerant of attractive females and use indirect aggression to derogate potential rivals. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 8 Feb. 2013 The key issue is who has the final authority to determine whether the play derogates the spirit or alters the characters. Jack Greiner,, 28 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'derogate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Late Latin derogatus, past participle of derogare, from Latin, to annul (a law), detract, from de- + rogare to ask, propose (a law) — more at right

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of derogate was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near derogate

Cite this Entry

“Derogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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