de·​rog·​a·​to·​ry di-ˈrä-gə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce derogatory (audio)
: expressive of a low opinion : disparaging
derogatory remarks
a derogatory term
: 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
derogatorily adverb

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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 De León faced widespread calls to resign over his participation in the conversation with two other council members and a union leader that featured, among other things, racist and derogatory remarks about then-Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white, and Bonin’s son, who is Black. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2024 Technology can even help you to analyze chat and video data to ensure the chat is clean of derogatory terms, images and videos that do not align with the community. Adam Rumanek, Rolling Stone, 2 July 2024 And even Francis has stumbled, using a derogatory term for gay men twice in recent weeks, according to Italian media. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, 28 June 2024 The program is based on the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast The Sterling Affairs, which depicted the time when former team owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape making derogatory racial remarks. Bruce Haring, Deadline, 12 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for derogatory 

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

Word History


see derogate

First Known Use

circa 1503, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of derogatory was circa 1503

Dictionary Entries Near derogatory

Cite this Entry

“Derogatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​rog·​a·​to·​ry di-ˈräg-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce derogatory (audio)
: intended to lower the reputation of a person or thing
: expressing a low opinion
derogatory remarks
derogatorily adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on derogatory

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