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

Who have seen a woman vilified, attacked, and even subjected to death threats after making an allegation of abuse. Rachael Denhollander, Vox, "I’m a sexual assault survivor. And a conservative. The Kavanaugh hearings were excruciating.," 15 Oct. 2018 Male viewers could still rewatch the panels from Riot’s Instagram account, but the policy was vilified by League fans on Reddit and elsewhere. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Two Riot Games employees depart after defending a women-only PAX West event to League players," 7 Sep. 2018 Drugs and alcohol have been romanticized and vilified, shattering the glamorous and unheralded alike, cautionary tales with echoes of the familiar, leading to the glimmer of recovery or the demise of our better angels. Jeffrey Fleishman, latimes.com, "Director Gus Van Sant continues his longtime exploration of addiction and recovery with 'Don’t Worry'," 6 July 2018 Trump frequently vilifies media outlets such as the New York Times and CNN and has tweeted insults at individual reporters, fueling a rise in wider animosity toward reporters. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette shooting highlights the dangers facing today's journalists," 3 July 2018 But the Syrian government and its allies have long vilified the group. Laura Koran, CNN, "US funding for Syrian White Helmets rescue group in question amid funding freeze," 4 May 2018 There is a distinct agenda against the 25-year-old; Zaha is being unfairly vilified. SI.com, "6 of the Best Moments From the Weekend's English Football Action as FA Cup Finalists Are Decided," 23 Apr. 2018 The letter goes on: There has long been a traditional narrative of blaming, vilifying and martyring courageous women. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Celebrities Pen Powerful Open Letter Defending Asia Argento Against Misogynist Trolls," 13 July 2018 Before the election, Orban's political campaign vilified Soros, and his activity supporting civil society, on billboards nationwide. NBC News, "George Soros' Open Society Foundations pulls out of Hungary," 15 May 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

4 Dec 2018

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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

: 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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