Examples of diatribe in a Sentence
… his apparent inability to keep his pen from drifting from the main objective of his words into diatribe must have taken away from the sound and otherwise convincing arguments that he advanced. —Henry Petroski, Engineers of Dreams, 1995
I looked … and listened to her ahistorical and apolitical diatribe. Her comments were a more extreme form of the kind of Black bashing I've often heard … —Itabari Njeri, “Sushi and Grits,” in Lure and Loathing, 1993
… gradually I realize the headman's diatribe has begun to feature a new term I was unfamiliar with at the time—the word for caterpillar, as it turns out, in the Iban dialect. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, Harper's, April 1993
The article is a diatribe against mainstream media.
a bitter diatribe about how unfair the tax system is
Recent Examples of diatribe from the Web
And there’s always Kitty O’Shea’s on the same block, an Irish pub where the U.K. Independence Party’s Nigel Farage can sometimes be found delivering his latest diatribe against the European project to anyone who’ll listen.
Trump Jr. also claims that the meeting didn’t provide any information about Clinton and instead turned into a diatribe on Russian adoptions.
Lefty journalist Eric Alterman also gets some of the blame, as his 2003 book What Liberal Media? featured a long diatribe against that evil pseudoscientist Charles Murray, which naturally piqued my interest.
Corbyn launched a furious diatribe from across the aisle, blaming austerity measures for a decline in public safety in recent years.
In addition, my colleagues in the English department, plus a few lucky senior administrators, have been hapless recipients of racist and anti-Semitic diatribes, thus burdening our IT staff.
Christian is accused of launching into a racist diatribe and then stabbing three men in the neck, two fatally.
Rodriguez responded with a diatribe against U.S. imperialism and repeated Venezuela’s vow not to recognize any OAS resolution against it.
As a toddler, the mere sound of his bellowing diatribes were enough to send me into a fit of sobbing.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diatribe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
History of diatribe
In modern times, a diatribe is not something most of us want to endure:
Our manager privately subjected a few of us to a lengthy diatribe about how terrible the company's new policy is.
I'd prefer a reasoned argument to the diatribes that typically litter the newspaper's editorial page.
That wasn't true in the word's early days, though.
When English speakers adopted diatribe in the late 16th century, they were glancing back at the ancients. The word comes from Greek diatribē, meaning "pastime" or "discourse," by way of Latin diatriba. The English word first referred to the popular lectures of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, the usual topic of which was ethics.
When the word diatribe referred to written work in this context, that work was understood to be either a transcription of such a lecture, or a written development of one. According to some, these oral and written diatribes were the model on which modern sermons were built.
Over time, this very specific meaning of diatribe developed a more general meaning that didn't require the ancients themselves: any prolonged discourse—written or oral—could be considered a diatribe. That sense of the word, however, is now archaic; you don't typically find it in modern contexts.
When diatribe is used today, the connotation is quite different. The word most often refers to a bitter or abusive speech or piece of writing, as in the examples given above.
DIATRIBE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of diatribe for English Language Learners
: an angry and usually long speech or piece of writing that strongly criticizes someone or something
Seen and Heard
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