1 : to lower in estimation or importance
2 : to utter slanderous and abusive statements against : defame
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.
Janet's angry letter chastised members of the media for vilifying her brother, the disgraced ex-councilman.
"But her daughter … denies the allegations against her mother. Instead, she believes the person who made the initial complaints was merely looking to vilify her mother after her own termination." - Evan Peter Smith, Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio), June 30, 2015
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of vilify: ca _ u _ ni _ _ e. The answer is …
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