adjective det·ri·men·tal \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of detrimental

: obviously harmful : damaging
  • the detrimental effects of pollution


play \-tᵊl-ē\ adverb

Examples of detrimental in a Sentence

  1. 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 Books12 Feb. 2009
  2. 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 GroopmanNew Yorker11 & 18 Aug. 2008
  3. 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 LandmarksFall 2003
  4. there were serious concerns that the factory's waste was detrimental to the local environment

Recent Examples of detrimental from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detrimental.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of detrimental

Synonym Discussion of 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



noun det·ri·men·tal \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Definition of detrimental

: an undesirable or harmful person or thing

Origin and Etymology of detrimental

DETRIMENTAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of detrimental for English Language Learners

  • : causing damage or injury

DETRIMENTAL Defined for Kids


adjective det·ri·men·tal \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Definition of detrimental for Students

: causing damage or injury
  • The detrimental effects of smoking are well known.

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very hard to disturb or upset

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