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 In these circumstances, Trump’s reëlection prospects hinge on his ability to rewrite history, create diversions, and vilify his political opponents and critics. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Fact-Checking Trump on Twitter Won’t Stop His Demagoguery," 27 May 2020 Those funds were later returned after scrutiny from the press, but donors who have been vilified throughout the nominating process are beginning to feel increasingly comfortable reaching out to the former vice president. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden's new campaign strategy: Take from the rich, and make policy promises to Sanders," 22 May 2020 That has not deterred Mr. Trump’s supporters, who have vilified public health officials such as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Touting Virus Cure, ‘Simple Country Doctor’ Becomes a Right-Wing Star," 2 Apr. 2020 China has worked relentlessly to vilify Mr. Lai, who has provided a powerful, wide-reaching platform to the mostly young and leaderless protesters in Hong Kong. Elaine Yu, New York Times, "Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong Media Baron, Is Arrested Over Role in Protests," 28 Feb. 2020 China and its allies in ASEAN, led by Cambodia, have opposed any attempt to use the annual meetings to vilify the Asian economic powerhouse. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 4 Nov. 2019 This is a person that really wants to vilify, demonize not only immigrants, but even communities of color as many of my sisters here have been talking about. CBS News, "The "Squad" denounces Trump's attacks as an intentional "distraction"," 17 July 2019 Americans today are praising the courage of these workers, not vilifying them as many once did with AIDS patients. John Blake, CNN, "Black Americans are being hammered by a double pandemic," 12 Apr. 2020 Later, when her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, Clinton’s ultimate decision to remain married led many women to vilify her for not divorcing her spouse. oregonlive, "‘Hillary’: Hulu documentary on Hillary Clinton celebrates her career, and explores how she became a polarizing figure," 4 Mar. 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.

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

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Cite this Entry

“Vilify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vilify. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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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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