vilify

verb
vil·​i·​fy | \ ˈvi-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce vilify (audio) \
vilified; vilifying

Definition of vilify

transitive verb

1 : to utter slanderous and abusive statements against : defame
2 : to lower in estimation or importance

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Other Words from vilify

vilifier \ ˈvi-​lə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce vilifier (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vilify

malign, traduce, asperse, vilify, calumniate, defame, slander mean to injure by speaking ill of. malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying. the most maligned monarch in British history traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim. so traduced the governor that he was driven from office asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction. both candidates aspersed the other's motives vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse. no criminal was more vilified in the press calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions. falsely calumniated as a traitor defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name. sued them for defaming her reputation slander stresses the suffering of the victim. town gossips slandered their good name

Did You Know?

Vilify came to English by way of the Middle English vilifien and the Late Latin vilificare from the Latin adjective vilis, meaning "cheap" or "vile." It first appeared in English in the 15th century. Also debuting during that time was another verb that derives from vilis and has a similar meaning: vilipend. When they were first used in English, both vilify and vilipend meant to regard someone or something as being of little worth or importance. Vilipend now carries an additional meaning of "to express a low opinion of somebody," while vilify means, more specifically, to express such an opinion publicly in a way that intends to embarrass a person or ruin his or her reputation.

Examples of vilify in a Sentence

He was vilified in the press for his comments. claimed that she had been vilified by the press because of her conservative views
Recent Examples on the Web She was vilified by the right and abandoned by Hollywood. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, "Kathy Griffin made $75 million making people laugh. But the phone’s not ringing," 22 July 2019 Eric Byrnes and Dan Plesac came to Jake Marisnick’s defense and Padres star Manny Machado takes to Instagram to wonder why he is vilified while others get the benefit of the doubt. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Manny Machado blasts MLB Network analysts in Instagram post," 17 July 2019 These excesses had touched all those who took the decision for repression in 1989, for they had been vilified and abused by Mao’s Red Guards. Margaret Macmillan, WSJ, "1989: The Year of Unfulfilled Hopes," 28 Dec. 2018 In Schnatter's hometown of Jeffersonville, several people have complained the former pizza baron has been unfairly vilified. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "John Schnatter's $1 million gift to Simmons College raises differing opinions," 4 Sep. 2019 In the weeks following the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting that claimed 17 lives, a deputy sheriff who was on site at the time was vilified for his failure to act in an emergency. Michael Dowling For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Enough is enough. I'm calling on health care CEOs to take a stand on gun control," 22 Aug. 2019 Case in point: Both the fast-fashion and farm-to-table meat industries are allowed free rein by City Hall while farm-to-fashion fur is vilified. Faran Krentcil, Harper's BAZAAR, "Should Fur Be Illegal?," 13 Sep. 2019 The 33-year-old veterinarian was wracked with student debt and worn down by the daily demands at work, which included euthanizing dogs and cats and being vilified by pet owners for not meeting their expectations. Melissa Chan, Time, "Veterinarians Face Unique Issues That Make Suicide One of the Profession's Big Worries," 12 Sep. 2019 Yet, while some of his deputies were vilified, Rosselló seemed to emerge unscathed. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "The people of Puerto Rico are angry: Here is what's fueling a major protest planned for Monday," 21 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for vilify

Middle English vilifien, from Late Latin vilificare, from Latin vilis cheap, vile

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Statistics for vilify

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for vilify

The first known use of vilify was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for vilify

vilify

verb
How to pronounce vilify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vilify

formal : to say or write very harsh and critical things about (someone or something)

vilify

verb
vil·​i·​fy | \ ˈvi-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce vilify (audio) \
vilified; vilifying

Kids Definition of vilify

: to speak of harshly and often unfairly The newspaper vilified him for his opinions.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vilify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vilify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vilify

Spanish Central: Translation of vilify

Nglish: Translation of vilify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vilify for Arabic Speakers

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