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 derogatory (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
Recent Examples on the Web But that will soon change, after the Department of the Interior announced on Feb. 22 that all 660 features bearing the derogatory term in the United States will be renamed. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Apr. 2022 The decision comes as momentum surges nationwide to change derogatory place names. Bonnie Mcgill, Scientific American, 22 Apr. 2022 While in office, Trump frequently called Blumenthal derogatory names referencing the issue. Susan Haigh,, 3 Apr. 2022 The Native American Rights Fund applauded Haaland's move to address derogatory place names, saying federal action is long overdue. Arkansas Online, 20 Nov. 2021 There is also legislation pending in Congress to address derogatory names on geographic features on public lands. Susan Montoya Bryan, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2021 There is also legislation pending in Congress to address derogatory names on geographic features on public lands. Susan Montoya Bryan, ajc, 19 Nov. 2021 The idea of scrawling derogatory names or crude doodles over the photo of a female celebrity, as Perez Hilton was known for doing, and actually publishing it on any platform, feels unimaginable. Aj Willingham, CNN, 13 Nov. 2021 For the first time, California renamed a state park as part of an effort to identify and rectify derogatory names. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 See More

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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Time Traveler for derogatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of derogatory was circa 1503

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Dictionary Entries Near derogatory



derogatory clause

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Derogatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for derogatory


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

More from Merriam-Webster on derogatory

Nglish: Translation of derogatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derogatory for Arabic Speakers


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