de·​cry di-ˈkrī How to pronounce decry (audio)
decried; decrying

transitive verb

: to depreciate (something, such as a coin) officially or publicly
the king may at any time decry … any coin of the kingdomWilliam Blackstone
: to express strong disapproval of
decry the emphasis on sex
… has decried the medical marijuana ballot initiative as being rife with loopholes.Dan Sweeney
decrier noun

Did you know?

Decry has several synonyms in English, among them disparage and belittle. Decry connotes an open condemnation that makes it the best choice for cases in which criticism is not at all veiled. The forthrightness expressed by the word is an echo from its ancestry: decry was borrowed in the 17th century from the French décrier, meaning "to discredit, depreciate," and the crier in that word is also the source of our word cry, the oldest meaning of which is “to utter loudly; shout.”

Choose the Right Synonym for decry

decry, depreciate, disparage, belittle mean to express a low opinion of.

decry implies open condemnation with intent to discredit.

decried their defeatist attitude

depreciate implies a representing as being of less value than commonly believed.

critics depreciate his plays for being unabashedly sentimental

disparage implies depreciation by indirect means such as slighting or invidious comparison.

disparaged polo as a game for the rich

belittle usually suggests a contemptuous or envious attitude.

belittled the achievements of others

Examples of decry in a Sentence

In her article, she decries the pollution of the environment by manufacturers. Violence on television is generally decried as harmful to children.
Recent Examples on the Web Adams has decried the situation as unsustainable and pleaded with President Biden's administration to provide federal relief. Chris Pandolfo, Fox News, 22 Sep. 2023 The festival had to move from Humboldt Park to Douglass Park in 2015 due to local furor, and now its new neighbors have decried the event as well. Josh Chesler, Spin, 20 Sep. 2023 In a social media post, a Black woman decried a group of Black men standing nearby on the street. Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, 18 Sep. 2023 Former president Donald Trump decried the toppling of Gaddafi and waved away any future American responsibility for the country. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 Cooper’s decision to don a prosthetic nose — with the fake schnoz featured, uh, prominently in the film’s trailer — sparked a firestorm of criticism, with some decrying it as antisemitic. Clayton Davis, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 However, some liberal and leftist pundits have decried the song’s apparent shaming of people who receive welfare, as well as possible references to conspiracy theories that serve as the foundation of Q’Anon groups. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2023 While many in Mexico praised the decision, others decried it. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 But others in the highly religious country decried the decision. Fabiola Sánchez and Megan Janetsky, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'decry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French décrier "to discredit, depreciate," going back to Middle French descrier (15th century), from des- de- + crier "to cry entry 1"

Note: A supposed 13th-century French usage of descrier in the sense "to announce (the depreciation or suppression of a currency)," mentioned without citation in the Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, has never been found and should probably be disregarded. See also note at descry entry 1.

First Known Use

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of decry was in 1614


Dictionary Entries Near decry

Cite this Entry

“Decry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​cry di-ˈkrī How to pronounce decry (audio)
: to express disrespect and scorn for : belittle
decry a hero's deeds
: to find fault with : condemn
decried the waste of resources
decrier noun

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