dis·​cred·​it | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈkre-dət How to pronounce discredit (audio) \
discredited; discrediting; discredits

Definition of discredit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to refuse to accept as true or accurate : disbelieve discredit a rumor
2 : to cause disbelief in the accuracy or authority of trying to discredit the claims of a rival a discredited theory
3 : to deprive of good repute : disgrace personal attacks meant to discredit his opponent



Definition of discredit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : loss of credit (see credit entry 1 sense 3) or reputation I knew stories to the discredit of England— W. B. Yeats
2 : lack or loss of belief or confidence : doubt contradictions cast discredit on his testimony

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Examples of discredit in a Sentence

Verb The prosecution discredited the witness by showing that she had lied in the past. Many of his theories have been thoroughly discredited. an attempt to discredit the governor Noun to his everlasting discredit, the coach was found to have placed bets against his own team
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sage Hopkins, who filed the lawsuit last month, alleges SJSU and its administrators covered up the abuse claims while engaging in a retaliatory campaign to discredit him. Kenny Jacoby, USA TODAY, "San Jose State whistleblower sues school over handling of sex abuse scandal; retaliation," 24 Apr. 2021 Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Fox News, "Police in Burma fire tear gas, rubber bullets at protesters," 2 Mar. 2021 The prosecution tried to use her identity to discredit her, asking whether she’d been dressed as a woman that night at the station. Michael Waters, The New Yorker, "The Untold Story of Queer Foster Families," 28 Feb. 2021 Writing in the Journal of the History of Sexuality in 2003, scholar Katherine B. Crawford argued that many of Henry’s political opponents painted his sexuality as deviant in order to discredit him. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Petite Portrait of Henry III, King Who Challenged Sexual Norms in 16th-Century France, Discovered," 27 Jan. 2021 Although partisans in a number of current conflicts have often used the term to discredit and stigmatize opponents, genocide prosecutions are rare. BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s why Biden’s recognition of genocide against Armenians matters," 24 Apr. 2021 Edison promoted the electric chair (which used alternating current) to discredit his rival. WSJ, "Replying to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld on Woke CEOs," 20 Apr. 2021 Brands that discredit unauthorized sellers publicly are often steered clear of. Sanjeev Sularia, Forbes, "Combating Gray-Market Activities And Protecting Your Brand (Part II): Seven Best Practices," 9 Apr. 2021 But Lempert, the children’s advocate, worries the district’s dysfunction could be used to discredit public education in general. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Alison Collins' lawsuit comes amid S.F. school district crisis. The real losers could be the students," 1 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To keep Bennett, especially, in tow, Netanyahu needs to prove that failing to stand with him would mean courting discredit with future supporters. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, "Netanyahu—on Trial and Trying to Form a Government—Is Promoting His Own Big Lie," 20 Apr. 2021 Despite, or because of its farcical origin, debunk has taken the place of more sober synonyms such as discredit or expose. Ralph Keyes, Time, "From ‘Scientist’ to ‘Spam,’ the Surprisingly Playful Origins of English Words," 1 Apr. 2021 As vaccine delivery draws nearer, community health workers will educate patients and discredit misinformation. Dallas News, "Dallas health care workers educate patients on COVID-19, discredit vaccine misinformation," 7 Dec. 2020 Efforts to censor, cancel, discredit, or destroy the work of anyone with contrasting viewpoints are canonized by the wealthy, powerful left-wing elites and their institutions. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Progressives Are No Longer Defenders of Free Expression," 3 Dec. 2020 Fire Department employees are prohibited from taking part in behavior that would bring discredit upon the department or cast it in a negative public light. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio mayor: Photo of fire chief with ‘naked sushi’ woman ‘betrays’ city values," 23 Oct. 2020 Employees also are prohibited from taking part in behavior that would bring discredit upon the department or cast it in a negative public light. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood posed for photo eating sushi displayed on nude woman," 22 Oct. 2020 Flooding involves producing a significant amount of content to distract, confuse, and discredit. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The case for a virtual commute when working from home," 1 Oct. 2020 Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department ... and demands your termination. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "These are the people at the center of the Breonna Taylor case," 23 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discredit.' 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 discredit


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for discredit

Time Traveler

The first known use of discredit was in 1548

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Statistics for discredit

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discredit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discredit. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for discredit



English Language Learners Definition of discredit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to seem dishonest or untrue
: to damage the reputation of (someone)



English Language Learners Definition of discredit (Entry 2 of 2)

: loss of reputation or respect


dis·​cred·​it | \ dis-ˈkre-dət How to pronounce discredit (audio) \
discredited; discrediting

Kids Definition of discredit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause to seem dishonest or untrue discredit a report
2 : to harm the reputation of The candidates tried to discredit each other.



Kids Definition of discredit (Entry 2 of 2)

: loss of good name or respect His behavior brought discredit on the family.

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