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

Lastly, Saturday night, after yet another tragic day in America, with a murderous shooting in a California synagogue, the president once again vilified the fourth estate. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “We’re Fighting All the Subpoenas!”," 28 Apr. 2019 But Strzok, those who know him say, hoped to finish his career and retire from the FBI and now feels he is being unfairly vilified by those with political agendas. Matt Zapotosky, The Seattle Times, "How anti-Trump texts ruined the career of the FBI’s go-to agent," 14 Aug. 2018 And unlike Ellison, Bolton had never broken off his ties with his hateful allies, or renounced their bigotry, much less campaigned for a presidential candidate who belonged to the religious community that his erstwhile friends had vilified. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "John Bolton and The Anti-Muslim Bigotry of Mainstream Conservatism," 27 Mar. 2018 The family has responded by saying that the lawsuit is riddled with inaccurate and misleading statements and that Healey cherry picked from hundreds of internal documents to wrongly vilify the family for the public health crisis. Steve Leblanc, The Seattle Times, "Parents press Harvard to remove Sackler name from art museum," 12 Apr. 2019 The scene was an escalation of Trump’s longtime strategy to vilify the press and tempt reporters into turning into the opposition party. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "“Sit down ... you’re a terrible person”: Trump unloads on reporters during ugly news conference," 7 Nov. 2018 In this shadow story, Harding wasn’t a monster but a victim, an underdog unfairly vilified, and Kerrigan was a crybaby who made too much of her pain. Leslie Jamison, New York Times, "I Used to Insist I Didn’t Get Angry. Not Anymore.," 17 Jan. 2018 After all, being a hero of the anti-Trump resistance, especially when Amazon lately has been vilified from the left, is better than being the chump starring in a garden-variety case of rich-guy infidelity. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Suddenly, Bezos Is Media’s Hero," 12 Feb. 2019 After being vilified for years, fat is having a comeback. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Plant Fats Are Healthier Than Animal Fats, Study Says," 21 Mar. 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

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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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