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

transitive verb

: to depreciate (see depreciate sense 1) by indirect means (such as invidious comparison) : speak slightingly about
religious beliefs disparaged as superstition
: to lower in rank or reputation : degrade
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

Example Sentences

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 Proft also is involved in political mailers disguised as newspapers that have been sent to thousands of homes across the state, disseminating disinformation to disparage Pritzker. Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, 3 Nov. 2022 And you’re not supposed to disparage a competitor’s product. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 None of this is meant to disparage the phenomenal women athletes at the top of their game. Steve Magness, The Atlantic, 29 Sep. 2022 The derogatory term often refers to Mexican migrants who have entered the country illegally, but it's also used to disparage all Hispanics. Arkansas Online, 21 Aug. 2021 The derogatory term often refers to Mexican migrants who have entered the country illegally, but it's also used to disparage all Hispanics. Ken Ritter, ajc, 20 Aug. 2021 One of them went so far as to disparage a white colleague’s young Black son. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Oct. 2022 By Tuesday, in an interview with Front Office Sports, Manning, also a two-time Super Bowl MVP, said his intent wasn't to disparage Wilson. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2022 Even after his criminal conviction, Griffin, a bombastic man who briefly considered riding a horse to his sentencing at the courthouse in Washington, continued to publicly disparage his case and insult the judge who heard it. Alan Feuer, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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

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 27 Nov. 2022.

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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