1. belittle, disparage, discredit, depreciate, minimize. Decry, denigrate, deprecate, derogate all involve the expression of censure or disapproval. Decry means to express one's vigorous disapproval of or to denounce: to decry all forms of discrimination. Denigrate means to speak damagingly of, to criticize in derogative terms: denigrating his works as trifling and poorly executed. Deprecate implies the expression of earnest, thoughtful disapproval: to deprecate a plan because of possible environmental damage. Derogate means to speak in such a way as to decrease the status, high quality, or good reputation of someone or something, making the person or object seem of less value: Fear of change makes them derogate every proposal put forth.