der·​o·​gate | \ ˈder-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce derogate (audio) , ˈde-rə- \
derogated; derogating

Definition of derogate

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

1 : 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
2 : to act beneath one's position or character

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Other Words from derogate

derogation \ ˌder-​ə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce derogation (audio) , ˌde-​rə-​ \ noun
derogative \ di-​ˈrä-​gə-​tiv How to pronounce derogative (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

You're probably familiar with derogatory, the adjective meaning "expressing a low opinion," but you may not be as well-acquainted with the less common verb, derogate. 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," rogare. Derogate first appeared in English in the 15th century. Derogatory was adopted in the early 16th century, and has become much more popular than the verb. 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 The key issue is who has the final authority to determine whether the play derogates the spirit or alters the characters. Jack Greiner,, "Greiner column: Will litigation kill stage version of "To Kill A Mockingbird"?," 28 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derogate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of derogate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for derogate

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Derogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for derogate


How to pronounce derogate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of derogate

formal : to insult (someone or something) : to say or suggest that (something or someone) is not important or worthy of respect

More from Merriam-Webster on derogate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for derogate

Britannica English: Translation of derogate for Arabic Speakers

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