adjective de·rog·a·to·ry \ di-ˈrä-gə-ˌtȯr-ē \
|Updated on: 21 Aug 2018

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


play \-ˌrä-gə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of derogatory in a Sentence

  1. 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 StyleMarch 2007
  2. In Powell's memoir, Lemann points out, terms like "expert" and "academic" are clearly derogatory. —Franklin FoerNew Republic5 Feb. 2001
  3. 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. StainsRolling Stone5 Aug. 1993
  4. fans made a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the players on the visiting team

Recent Examples of derogatory from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of derogatory

DEROGATORY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of derogatory for English Language Learners

  • : expressing a low opinion of someone or something : showing a lack of respect for someone or something

DEROGATORY Defined for Kids


adjective de·rog·a·to·ry \ di-ˈrä-gə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Definition of derogatory for Students

: expressing a low opinion of a person or thing
  • a derogatory remark

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