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 Yovanovitch was publicly vilified by Trump allies, including Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr., and the State Department's treatment of her left Taylor hesitant to accept the assignment. Stefan Becket, CBS News, "Top diplomat tells lawmakers Ukraine aid was directly tied to investigations," 22 Oct. 2019 Wells suggested this case was not brought because of what ExxonMobil had done, but was rather the result of climate change activists opposed to fossil fuel companies trying to falsely vilify ExxonMobil. Aaron Cooper, CNN, "The cost of climate change: Trial to decide whether ExxonMobil was honest with investors," 22 Oct. 2019 Produced by Lisa Freed, Stephanie Slifer, Lincoln Farr and Jonathan Leach An Ohio cheerleader charged with murder and vilified in social media, was found not guilty of killing her newborn earlier this month. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, "The case against Brooke Skylar Richardson," 28 Sep. 2019 The antagonists of the film are only presented as elitists, a group often vilified on both sides of the aisle. David Sims, The Atlantic, "How The Hunt Became a Political Rorschach Test," 13 Aug. 2019 Far from vilifying California in their political advertisements, Texan leaders should study the Golden State, and vice versa. The Economist, "The futureTexas seems better placed to adapt than California," 22 June 2019 She was vilified by the right and abandoned by Hollywood. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, "Kathy Griffin made $75 million making people laugh. But the phone’s not ringing," 22 July 2019 Eric Byrnes and Dan Plesac came to Jake Marisnick’s defense and Padres star Manny Machado takes to Instagram to wonder why he is vilified while others get the benefit of the doubt. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Manny Machado blasts MLB Network analysts in Instagram post," 17 July 2019 These excesses had touched all those who took the decision for repression in 1989, for they had been vilified and abused by Mao’s Red Guards. Margaret Macmillan, WSJ, "1989: The Year of Unfulfilled Hopes," 28 Dec. 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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The first known use of vilify was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Vilify.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vilifying. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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