Definition of derogatory
- … abstained from saying a word derogatory to his new friend's religion …
- —Anthony Trollope
- derogatory remarks
- a derogatory term
fans made a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the players on the visiting team
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.
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.
: expressing a low opinion of someone or something : showing a lack of respect for someone or something
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