det·ri·ment | \ˈde-trə-mənt \

Definition of detriment 

1 : injury, damage did hard work without detriment to his health

2 : a cause of injury or damage a detriment to progress

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Synonyms & Antonyms for detriment


despite, disadvantage, disfavor, penalty


advantage, favor

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Examples of detriment in a Sentence

opponents of casino gambling claim that it is a detriment to society at large the requirement that runners wear shoes for the race worked to his detriment since he was used to running barefoot

Recent Examples on the Web

This conspiracy thriller is about a young CIA analyst (Max Irons) whose brilliant mind turns out to be both a great asset and a great detriment. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "8 new shows to watch this summer," 28 May 2018 Both toured with their sister — the singer employed virtually her entire family to great detriment — and both indulged in drugs with her with reckless abandon. Gerrick D. Kennedy,, "'Whitney' offers an unflinching look at Whitney Houston's triumphs and tragedies," 17 May 2018 To the ultimate detriment of the child him- or herself. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Husband’s discomfort with confrontation doesn’t bode well for his parenting," 15 May 2018 To audiences more accustomed to the breakneck scare pace of mainstream horror, that could be a detriment — but the movie’s dreamy imagery and Lynchian confusion have their own appeal. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Don’t Leave Home is a wonderfully atmospheric waking nightmare," 6 May 2018 Solo brass blazed with clarity in Bernstein’s big-band passages, but to the detriment of the whole ensemble’s balance in unwieldy scenes like the dance at the gym. Joshua Barone, New York Times, "The Trouble With Bernstein’s Broadway in the Concert Hall," 13 July 2018 Throughout the state, wardens are spending a much higher percentage of their time in parks to the detriment of their traditional coverage, said Doug Hoskins of Muskego, retired DNR warden supervisor. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin warden shortage and changes in responsibilities raise concerns," 14 July 2018 The Premier League’s strength has been to the detriment of the national team since its inception in 1992-93 as foreign imports have taken the places of homegrown players. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Enforced development helps give Europe a grip on World Cup," 10 July 2018 Although this approach has often resulted in the detriment of effective defending, two team's that live to outscore their opponents - Real Madrid and Liverpool - will face each other in the Champions League final., "Why Maurizio Sarri Is the Right Man to Replace Antionio Conte at Chelsea This Summer," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detriment.' 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 detriment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for detriment

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin detrimentum, from deterere to wear away, impair, from de- + terere to rub — more at throw entry 1

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Statistics for detriment

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detriment

The first known use of detriment was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for detriment



English Language Learners Definition of detriment

: something that will cause damage or injury to something or someone

: the act of causing damage or injury to something or someone


det·ri·ment | \ˈde-trə-mənt \

Kids Definition of detriment

: injury or damage or its cause : harm Missing school is to your detriment. Smoking is a detriment to health.


det·ri·ment | \ˈde-trə-mənt \

Legal Definition of detriment 

1 : injury, loss also : the cause of an injury or loss

2 : a giving up of a thing or mode of conduct to which one is entitled that constitutes consideration for a contract

called also legal detriment

Other Words from detriment

detrimental \ˌde-trə-ˈmen-təl \ adjective
detrimentally adverb

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Comments on detriment

What made you want to look up detriment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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