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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Democratic debate exposed an ideologi Nixon's conversations are full of racist and derogatory comments. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Recording reveals Ronald Reagan making racist remarks to President Richard Nixon," 31 July 2019 How the phrase came to be so derogatory was a mystery to him. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Emmy-nominated Henry Winkler does not regret jumping the shark," 30 July 2019 Just days later, Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published almost 900 pages of derogatory text messages Rosselló sent in a private group chat with 11 advisers. Tess Vrbin,, "‘A people’s victory': Hartford’s Puerto Rican community reacts to Gov. Rosselló’s resignation," 25 July 2019 Trump allies seized on Mueller's at times juddering performance, tweeting out a range of derogatory assessments, ranging from the critical to the cruel. Author: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "‘A very good day’: Trump and allies claim victory in Mueller’s performance," 25 July 2019 Much of the same white supremacy symbolism and rhetoric that defined the movement decades ago still applies now — swastikas, SS bolts, derogatory slurs. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Understanding the psychology of hate," 22 July 2019 The leak was explosive because it was packed with profane, derogatory, and offensive remarks toward all kinds of people in Puerto Rican life. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "Puerto Rico’s week of massive protests, explained," 20 July 2019 There are accounts, from kids and from adults, of being referred to in really racially derogatory ways. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Detained Children Are Treated Around the World," 10 July 2019 The chats use derogatory terms against women, including former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and homophobic comments about singer Ricky Martin. Leyla Santiago And Hollie Silverman, CNN, "Police gassed protesters calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico's governor. Here's how we got here," 16 July 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.

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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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Statistics for derogatory

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for derogatory

The first known use of derogatory was circa 1503

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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

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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