vilify

verb
vil·​i·​fy | \ ˈvi-lə-ˌfī \
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 \ 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

By then, the religious right was used to being vilified by liberals. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump Didn’t Kill the Bush Values," 5 Dec. 2018 That appeared to be a reference to Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, a prominent North Korea hawk who has been vilified by Pyongyang in the past. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "Pompeo shrugs off NKorea's 'gangster' rebuke, cites progress," 8 July 2018 By the same token, anyone unmasked as less than a moral paragon will be vilified. Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, "Kant in Kindergarten Could Ease the Civility Crisis," 28 Dec. 2018 Shoppers who choose to chase deals instead of spending time with their families have also been vilified. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Black Friday is longer, and tamer, than ever," 20 Nov. 2018 The 88-year-old Soros has also been criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump and vilified by right-wing conspiracy theorists. Pablo Gorondi, The Seattle Times, "Soros-backed university in Hungary partly moving to Vienna," 25 Oct. 2018 In a sign of the impasse that the dialogue between China and the United States has reached, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a statement on Thursday arguing that it has been unfairly vilified with false claims about its trade practices. New York Times, "As Trade War Persists, Mnuchin Says China Talks Have ‘Broken Down’," 12 July 2018 Putin has been vilified in the West for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and then backing the pro-Russia separatist militias in eastern Ukraine. Sabra Ayres, latimes.com, "'We're the fans. We make the party': Icy relations aside, soccer fans pour into Russia for World Cup," 12 June 2018 Why are the people who protest inequality always vilified more than the people who actually practice it? Michael Harriot, The Root, "There’s Nothing Wrong With Treating an Asshole Like an Asshole," 25 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near vilify

vile

Vilela

vilification

vilify

vilifyingly

vilipend

vility

Statistics for vilify

Last Updated

30 Jan 2019

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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

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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vilify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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