de·​mote di-ˈmōt How to pronounce demote (audio)
demoted; demoting

transitive verb

: to reduce to a lower grade or rank
demote a student
was demoted from major to captain
: to relegate to a less important position
a pitcher demoted to the bullpen
demotion noun

Example Sentences

Teachers can choose to demote a student to a lower grade. The army major was demoted to captain.
Recent Examples on the Web Helmke pointed to a recent case in Zionsville in which courts ruled that the town’s 2014 reorganization documents did not give Mayor Emily Styron the ability to demote the town’s fire chief. Brittany Carloni, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Oct. 2022 Five months after the incident, Elkhart’s then-police chief, Ed Windbigler, gave both Newland and Titus reprimands but did not suspend or demote them. Marek Mazurek, ProPublica, 7 Sep. 2022 Trump hasn't been shy about ripping into McConnell and has made no secret of his desire to see Republicans demote the Senate minority leader. David Jackson, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2022 Will the Tigers demote Torkelson to Triple-A Toledo? Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 6 July 2022 The selloff of 10 years ago reflected concern that Netflix management was acting too rashly in rushing into streaming and seeming to demote the DVD service that was still generating the vast bulk of its revenue. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 20 Apr. 2022 The changes: If a team wishes to demote a player already optioned five times that season, every other team must first get the chance to claim him on waivers. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 By opening up the algorithm that Twitter uses, those on the platform can see how Twitter decides to demote or promote material and potentially make suggestions on that code. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2022 The corresponding move with Ahmed’s activation was to demote Yonny Hernandez, who the Diamondbacks traded for earlier this month. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demote.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


de- + -mote (as in promote)

First Known Use

circa 1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of demote was circa 1891

Dictionary Entries Near demote

Cite this Entry

“Demote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



de·​mote di-ˈmōt How to pronounce demote (audio)
demoted; demoting
: to reduce to a lower grade or rank
demotion noun

More from Merriam-Webster on demote

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.