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

Keep scrolling for more

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 He was loved in the preseason, vilified after the first three games and then redeemed after Michigan started to kick into high gear in late October. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Relax, Michigan football's Citrus Bowl loss means nothing in the big picture," 1 Jan. 2020 But reformers often seem more focused on vilifying drug companies than proposing commonsense solutions. Matthew Herper, STAT, "The debate over America’s drug-pricing system is built on myths. It’s time to face reality," 23 Dec. 2019 As the fulfillment of these policy promises has stalled, or dropped from view, Trump has responded, as all demagogues do, by trying to define his own reality and vilifying anyone who undermines his fabrications by reporting the truth. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "“Sharpiegate” and Donald Trump’s Perpetual Cone of Uncertainty," 6 Sep. 2019 With the president vilifying Latinos, their cultural representation is more important than ever, Carolina Miranda writes. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today: When a home means abandoning your past," 16 Aug. 2019 And when a video of MAGA hat-wearing high-schoolers from Covington, Kentucky, went viral earlier this year the boy at the center of the controversy was quickly identified and vilified. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Kyle Kashuv case: What does forgiveness mean in modern America?," 21 June 2019 The Fastolf Master and his patrons changed the facts in order to vilify Muslims as enemies. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 In Poland’s yearslong struggle over the rule of law, its judges have often found themselves at the ramparts — frequently vilified but also leading the efforts to stop the nationalist government’s campaign to tighten control over the judiciary. Joanna Berendt, New York Times, "In Poland, a Stubborn Defender of Judicial Independence," 10 Jan. 2020 However, unlike Trump, Han doesn’t vilify particular social or ethnic groups and has no problem making fun of himself, especially his bald head. Time, "Here's What's at Stake in Taiwan's Presidential Election," 6 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vilify

Time Traveler for vilify

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about vilify

Statistics for vilify

Last Updated

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vilify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vilify. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on vilify

What made you want to look up vilify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!