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 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 The president will vilify any firms that lay off workers. The Economist, "Buckle up for America’s ugly election and faltering economy," 25 Dec. 2019 Two of the top three Democratic candidates in national polling, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, routinely vilify billionaires as more or less the root of all evil. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "What’s Behind the Great Big Billionaire Backlash?," 19 Dec. 2019 Both were suspended from the national team, vilified and at one point, homeless and unemployed. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "International Olympic Committee bans political protests by athletes at 2020 games," 9 Jan. 2020 His attorneys have said Petersen ran a legal adoption practice and has been vilified before his side of the story comes out. Washington Post, "Arizona politician’s alleged adoption aide pleads guilty," 19 Dec. 2019 At a time when immigrants and refugees are being vilified and attacked daily by the Trump administration, RAICES, and the women behind it, are ensuring the most vulnerable families are afforded their basic constitutional rights. Kimberly Meyer, Glamour, "The Women of RAICES Are Giving Immigrants a Voice," 25 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for vilify

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

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vilify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vilify. Accessed 27 Feb. 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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