det·​ri·​men·​tal | \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl How to pronounce detrimental (audio) \

Essential Meaning of detrimental

formal : causing damage or injury The detrimental [=harmful] effects of overeating are well known.

Full Definition of detrimental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: obviously harmful : damaging the detrimental effects of pollution


det·​ri·​men·​tal | \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl How to pronounce detrimental (audio) \

Definition of detrimental (Entry 2 of 2)

: an undesirable or harmful person or thing

Other Words from detrimental


detrimentally \ ˌde-​trə-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce detrimental (audio) \ adverb

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The pope was also critical of closing schools to in-person instruction and opting for virtual learning, arguing that the isolation could be detrimental to students development. Michael Lee, Fox News, 11 Jan. 2022 Former President Donald Trump was scheduled to hold a press conference today, but canceled after advisers warned the event could be detrimental to him and other Republicans. Aj Willingham, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 There's nothing more detrimental to our mental health than toxic company culture. Natasha Bowman, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 Fortnite can be similar, but one poor performance is much more detrimental. Tyler Gallagher, Rolling Stone, 28 Oct. 2021 Is wanting it more and having more of a sense of urgency, is that going to be more beneficial or more detrimental? Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 21 Sep. 2021 Isolation can have an almost immediate psychological impact and cause lasting trauma in adults, research has shown, but experts say its effects on young people are more detrimental because their brains still are developing. Special To The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2020 Someone told me that leaving a job after eight months was detrimental to my career. Diana Budds, Curbed, 29 Dec. 2021 But doing so would be detrimental to the company’s taxonomy disclosures, since such an investment wouldn’t count as eligible under the criteria, according to Mr. Kildemo. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, 27 Dec. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of detrimental


1590, in the meaning defined above


1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for detrimental


see detriment


see detriment

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Time Traveler for detrimental

Time Traveler

The first known use of detrimental was in 1590

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Detrimental.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for detrimental


det·​ri·​men·​tal | \ ˌde-trə-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of detrimental

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

More from Merriam-Webster on detrimental

Nglish: Translation of detrimental for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detrimental for Arabic Speakers


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