dis·​par·​age di-ˈsper-ij How to pronounce disparage (audio)
disparaged; disparaging; disparages

transitive verb

: to belittle the importance or value of (someone or something) : to speak slightingly about (someone or something)
disparaged his opponent
religious beliefs disparaged as superstition
… drew fire this month for disparaging the company's theme parks as "cheap day-care centers for teenagers" …Lisa Fickenscher
: to lower (someone or something) in rank or reputation : degrade
Mr Miles said changing the hospital's name was not designed to disparage the name or recognition of Lady Cilento.Lucy Stone
di-ˈsper-ij-mənt How to pronounce disparage (audio)
disparager noun

Did you know?

In Middle English, to "disparage" someone meant causing that person to marry someone of inferior rank. Disparage derives from the Anglo-French word desparager, meaning "to marry below one's class." Desparager, in turn, combines the negative prefix des- with parage (meaning "equality" or "lineage"), which itself comes from per, meaning "peer." The original "marriage" sense of disparage is now obsolete, but a closely-related sense (meaning "to lower in rank or reputation") survives in modern English. By the 16th century, English speakers (including William Shakespeare) were also using disparage to mean simply "to belittle."

Choose the Right Synonym for disparage

decry, depreciate, disparage, belittle mean to express a low opinion of.

decry implies open condemnation with intent to discredit.

decried their defeatist attitude

depreciate implies a representing as being of less value than commonly believed.

critics depreciate his plays for being unabashedly sentimental

disparage implies depreciation by indirect means such as slighting or invidious comparison.

disparaged polo as a game for the rich

belittle usually suggests a contemptuous or envious attitude.

belittled the achievements of others

Examples of disparage in a Sentence

Voters don't like political advertisements in which opponents disparage one another. It's a mistake to disparage their achievements. The article disparaged polo as a game for the wealthy.
Recent Examples on the Web Tapia also agreed not to seek future employment with the district, and both sides agreed to not disparage each other or file future lawsuits. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2024 No matter how disparaging the reviews, his movies turned a profit. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for disparage 

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

Word History


Middle English, to degrade by marriage below one's class, disparage, from Anglo-French desparager to marry below one's class, from des- dis- + parage equality, lineage, from per peer

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of disparage was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near disparage

Cite this Entry

“Disparage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disparage. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​par·​age dis-ˈpar-ij How to pronounce disparage (audio)
disparaged; disparaging
: to lower in rank : degrade
: to speak of as unimportant or not much good : belittle
disparaged the performance
disparagement noun
disparaging adjective
disparagingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on disparage

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