de·​rog·​a·​to·​ry | \ di-ˈrä-gə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce derogatory (audio) \

Definition of derogatory

1 : expressive of a low opinion : disparaging derogatory remarks a derogatory term
2 : detracting from the character or standing of something often used with to, towards, or of … abstained from saying a word derogatory to his new friend's religion …— Anthony Trollope

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Other Words from derogatory

derogatorily \ di-​ˌrä-​gə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce derogatorily (audio) \ adverb

What is a derogatory Credit Report?

When derogatory first began to be used in English it had the meaning “detracting from the character or standing of something.” It comes from the verb derogate, which can be traced to the Latin word derogare (“to detract” or “to annul (a law)”). Derogatory quickly took on the additional meaning “disdainful, disparaging,” as may be seen in the word’s frequent use in “derogatory comment.” Derogatory is increasingly seen today in credit reports, although it should not be taken as a credit card company making unkind comments on the character of the cardholder. In this context it refers to something (such as a late payment, foreclosure, or bankruptcy) that will have a negative effect on a person’s credit score.

Examples of derogatory in a Sentence

The aroma of wine made from Concord … grapes is often described as "foxy," a wine term as derogatory as it is vague. — Danny May et al., Berkshire Home Style, March 2007 In Powell's memoir, Lemann points out, terms like "expert" and "academic" are clearly derogatory. — Franklin Foer, New Republic, 5 Feb. 2001 Unfortunately, the codes were badly explained and ham-handedly enforced. At Michigan an interpretive guide called "What Students Should Know … " went beyond the scope of the actual code in saying that even a derogatory comment … would be punished by the university. — Laurence R. Stains, Rolling Stone, 5 Aug. 1993 fans made a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the players on the visiting team
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Recent Examples on the Web

On Friday, another Facebook group of apparent CBP personnel surfaced, unveiling even more posts containing insensitive, derogatory and lewd content. Reis Thebault, Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Feds knew about Border Patrol agents’ derogatory Facebook group years ago," 6 July 2019 Unacceptable Behavior Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory or demeaning conduct by anyone participating in the Data Institute. ProPublica, "ProPublica Data Institute 2019," 5 July 2019 In that group, Border Patrol agents also reportedly made derogatory posts about migrants and lawmakers. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Newly Discovered Customs and Border Protection–Linked Facebook Group Mocks Immigrants," 5 July 2019 The president shrugged off a question about Border Patrol agents posting derogatory and sexist messages about lawmakers in a secret Facebook group, and defended the comments that have been blasted by Border Patrol and Homeland Security leadership. NBC News, "'A lot of people are going to be joining': Trump says July Fourth event boosts military recruiting," 5 July 2019 Seeing that the Honduran man was upset, the witnessing agent took the note away from him and provided him another without the derogatory phrase on it. Nick Valencia, CNN, "Border Patrol agents allegedly tried to shame a migrant by making him hold a sign reading 'I like men,' emails show," 4 July 2019 Wan-Bissaka left for Old Trafford earlier this week in a deal which could reach £50m, but Arsenal's opening bid for the Ivorian international came in at a derogatory £40m., "Crystal Palace Incensed by Arsenal Offer for Wilfried Zaha as Proposed Payment Structure Is Revealed," 2 July 2019 During the news conference, protesters heckled her and other female lawmakers in derogatory, anti-Muslim terms. Dallas News, "Lawmakers decry conditions at immigrant detention centers, blast Facebook posts by Border Patrol agents," 1 July 2019 Language — such as derogatory use of the word gay — harmful humour and people using the wrong pronouns were some of the factors that created an unwelcoming climate. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Discrimination Drives LGBT+ Scientists to Think About Quitting," 29 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derogatory.' 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 derogatory

circa 1503, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for derogatory

see derogate

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Statistics for derogatory

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for derogatory

The first known use of derogatory was circa 1503

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More Definitions for derogatory



English Language Learners Definition of derogatory

: expressing a low opinion of someone or something : showing a lack of respect for someone or something


de·​rog·​a·​to·​ry | \ di-ˈrä-gə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce derogatory (audio) \

Kids Definition of derogatory

: expressing a low opinion of a person or thing a derogatory remark

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Comments on derogatory

What made you want to look up derogatory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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