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 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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web While at Station 6, the firefighter said he was asked about his HIV status by a supervisor more than once and called derogatory epithets. Nora Mishanec,, "Firefighter sues S.F. Fire Department claiming racist, homophobic treatment," 26 Jan. 2021 George Zinn responds to a woman who said derogatory things about President Donald Trump at the Utah Capitol, where a dozen protesters gathered on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Live: Law enforcement far outnumbers armed protesters at Utah Capitol," 17 Jan. 2021 Hartman’s focus on the mythological and historical Venus, the goddess of love and the derogatory pseudonym of Saartjie Baartman in colonial South Africa, offers an amazing predecessor to the reality of Black women navigating tech and media. Sydette Harry, Wired, "Listening to Black Women: The Innovation Tech Can't Figure Out," 11 Jan. 2021 Replays showed Tubelis did hit Martin on the arm, but the Pac-12 prohibits coaches from making public derogatory comments about officiating. The Arizona Republic, "Pac-12 reprimands Arizona State's Bobby Hurley for comments," 23 Jan. 2021 The prior name had long been denounced by Native American groups as an ethnic slur and a derogatory reference to skin color. Eric Levenson, CNN, "These teams faced pressure to change their Native American names. Here's what's happened since," 14 Dec. 2020 By contrast, derogatory comments directed at Rep.-elect Ritchie Torres did not harm his chances of becoming the first Afro-Latinx LGBTQ person elected to Congress. NBC News, "Do homophobic attack ads work? It's complicated.," 17 Nov. 2020 Pantifa is a derogatory term for antifa, a far-left anti-fascist movement whose adherents sometimes engage in violent clashes with right-wing extremists. Author: Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Anchorage Daily News, "FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims that there was no indication of looming violence," 12 Jan. 2021 The rally at police headquarters was nonviolent but fueled royalist outrage at the protest movement, as demonstrators defaced the Royal Thai Police sign and scrawled graffiti and chanted slogans that could be considered derogatory to the king. Star Tribune, "Thai police revive royal defamation law ahead of protest," 25 Nov. 2020

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

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Derogatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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