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det·​ri·​men·​tal ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl How to pronounce detrimental (audio)
: obviously harmful : damaging
the detrimental effects of pollution
detrimentally adverb


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det·​ri·​men·​tal ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl How to pronounce detrimental (audio)
: an undesirable or harmful person or thing
Choose the Right Synonym for detrimental

pernicious, baneful, noxious, deleterious, detrimental mean exceedingly harmful.

pernicious implies irreparable harm done through evil or insidious corrupting or undermining.

the claim that pornography has a pernicious effect on society

baneful implies injury through poisoning or destroying.

the baneful notion that discipline destroys creativity

noxious applies to what is both offensive and injurious to the health of a body or mind.

noxious chemical fumes

deleterious applies to what has an often unsuspected harmful effect.

a diet found to have deleterious effects

detrimental implies obvious harmfulness to something specified.

the detrimental effects of excessive drinking

Examples of detrimental in a Sentence

Adjective In context, the word "corruption" summarized the opinion (set forth in some of the books mentioned in the review) that, as a general matter, the growing financial dependence of the medical profession on the pharmaceutical industry is profoundly detrimental to sound public, medical, and scientific policy. New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009
Healthy people can harbor Klebsiella to no detrimental effect; those with debilitating conditions, like liver disease or severe diabetes, or those recovering from major surgery, are most likely to fall ill. Jerome Groopman, New Yorker, 11 & 18 Aug. 2008
Unfortunately, tourism, along with dynamite fishing and poaching, has proved detrimental to the park's coral reefs, mangrove complexes, coastal wetlands and marine species. Nature Conservancy Landmarks, Fall 2003
there were serious concerns that the factory's waste was detrimental to the local environment
Recent Examples on the Web
Most of the time fast fashion is to blame for most of the industry’s contribution to polluting our planet, but designers in general can sometimes use practices that are overall detrimental to the Earth. Essence, 20 Sep. 2023 The loss of Victims of Crime Act funding would have a detrimental impact on child advocacy centers across the state, with up to 30%-50% of child advocacy centers' operational budgets funded through the federal Victims of Crime Act, the Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas said. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 16 Sep. 2023 Using off-brand Viagra or ones that are expired but resold by companies can be detrimental to your health (not to mention a waste of money)! Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 15 Sep. 2023 But experts say what North Korea gets in return from Russia could be even more detrimental to the interest of the U.S. and its allies. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 12 Sep. 2023 Not doing so, Hartog said, has tax implications that are detrimental to the senator. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2023 According to Steve, organizational silos have a detrimental effect on operations and the success of organizations. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 17 Aug. 2023 Even a small loss in wages can result in larger, detrimental effects for the entire household. Jazmin Towe, Parents, 29 Aug. 2023 An expansion to recreational would have detrimental effects on children’s health, community safety and workforce development. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detrimental.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



see detriment


see detriment

First Known Use


1590, in the meaning defined above


1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of detrimental was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near detrimental

Cite this Entry

“Detrimental.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: harmful
detrimental effects of drug abuse

More from Merriam-Webster on detrimental

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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