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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Teixeira also made other derogatory remarks about Pappas and his wife before he was subdued by court officers. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Suspect in Boston double murder trial dragged out of court after threatening prosecutor," 10 Dec. 2019 Ryff agreed to refrain from making derogatory remarks about Moir and other city staff and leaders as part of the agreement. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Tempe Council to vote on $150K settlement with ex-Police Chief Tom Ryff," 9 Dec. 2019 During the arrest, Nucera, who is white, allegedly yelled racial slurs and derogatory remarks, The Courier-Post reported. Fox News, "Retired New Jersey police chief convicted of lying to feds in hate probe," 10 Oct. 2019 He has also been criticized for supporting racial segregation between black and white South Africans and making derogatory remarks about black people. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How Mahatma Gandhi changed political protest," 27 Sep. 2019 This expression is derogatory and disparages students who attend a community college as a more-affordable option than starting their college career at a four-year university. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "Community college should be a first choice, not a last resort," 16 July 2019 Balsonaro has a history of making derogatory comments aimed at women and minorities. Fox News, "Brazil's president says journalist has a 'homosexual's face' at heated press conference," 21 Dec. 2019 Some in the group made derogatory comments to others in the group, the sheriff’s office said in a release. Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post, "Man shot in Summit County during drunken fight, authorities say," 1 Dec. 2019 Carson also allegedly made derogatory comments about transgender women to HUD staffers. Julie Moreau, NBC News, "Civil rights agency slams Trump admin over LGBTQ policies," 27 Nov. 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.

See More

First Known Use of derogatory

circa 1503, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for derogatory

see derogate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about derogatory

Time Traveler for derogatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of derogatory was circa 1503

See more words from the same year

Statistics for derogatory

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Derogatory.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for derogatory


How to pronounce derogatory (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to assert without proof or before proving

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

January 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • image1642096650
  • Which is a synonym of bonhomie?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!