Word of the Day : May 25, 2019

disparage

play
verb dih-SPAIR-ij

Definition

1 : to depreciate by indirect means (such as invidious comparison) : to speak slightingly about

2 : to lower in rank or reputation : degrade

Did You Know?

In Middle English, to "disparage" someone meant causing that person to marry someone of inferior rank. Disparage derives from the Anglo-French word desparager, meaning "to marry below one's class." Desparager, in turn, combines the negative prefix des- with parage (meaning "equality" or "lineage"), which itself comes from per, meaning "peer." The original "marriage" sense of disparage is now obsolete, but a closely-related sense (meaning "to lower in rank or reputation") survives in modern English. By the 16th century, English speakers (including William Shakespeare) were also using disparage to mean simply "to belittle."


Examples

"In the early 1990s the president of newly independent Estonia gave a speech in Hamburg. In it, he disparaged the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. A little-known Russian official was so outraged that he stormed out. It was Vladimir Putin." — The Economist, 2 Feb. 2019

"Despite his own military background, Jackson did not unnecessarily glorify war or disparage peace. In his farewell address, he wrote, 'It is unquestionably our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation and to avoid by every honorable means the calamities of war.'" — Jeff Taylor, The American Conservative, 1 Jan. 2019



Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of disparage: v _ l _ p _ n _.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!