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 for detriment


affliction, damage, harm, hurt, injury

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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

Burrill’s fraud caused millions of dollars of losses to the fund, to the detriment of its investors and public employees such as police and firefighters. Brian Gormley, WSJ, "Biotech Venture Capitalist Burrill Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison," 5 Dec. 2018 Musk’s plan to privatize Tesla has also sparked no less than five lawsuits from shareholders who claim that the CEO’s erratic and apparently unplanned announcement manipulated the company’s stock price to their detriment. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla allegedly covered up drug trafficking and spied on employees at the Gigafactory, whistleblower says," 16 Aug. 2018 Schnaufer foolishly fails to mention these experiences, to his detriment. Lauren Ritchie,, "Lake County Commission candidate Tad Schnaufer pads work, academia background," 3 July 2018 While Goffin’s speed and celestial movement can be an asset, his modest power works to his detriment on this surface. Jon Wertheim,, "Five Thoughts From Day Two at Wimbledon," 3 July 2018 Too many people take themselves way to seriously to their detriment. Steve Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jagler: Former MGIC CEO Curt Culver shares secrets to career happiness," 29 June 2018 The same songwriting team created the even more seductive Once on This Island, a Tony winner this month for Best Revival of a Musical. Daringly, but sometimes to its detriment, Ragtime is a show driven more by ideas than character or plot. Julia M. Klein,, "Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's Ragtime thrills," 17 June 2018 Robert Balfanz, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Center for the Social Organization of Schools, says school systems generally have ignored high rates of chronic absences — to their detriment. Liz Bowie,, "Nearly 1 in 5 Maryland students is chronically absent. At some schools, the rate is more than 75 percent.," 6 June 2018 More than anyone, Eugene expected a lot from himself — almost to his detriment. Terrence Thomas, San Antonio Express-News, "Not his brother’s keeper," 12 Apr. 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

12 Dec 2018

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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 make faulty or ineffective

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