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[dih-mawr-uh-lahyz, -mor-] /dɪˈmɔr əˌlaɪz, -ˈmɒr-/
verb (used with object), demoralized, demoralizing.
to deprive (a person or persons) of spirit, courage, discipline, etc.; destroy the morale of:
The continuous barrage demoralized the infantry.
to throw (a person) into disorder or confusion; bewilder:
We were so demoralized by that one wrong turn that we were lost for hours.
to corrupt or undermine the morals of.
Also, especially British, demoralise.
1785-95; < French démoraliser. See de-, moral, -ize
Related forms
demoralization, noun
demoralizer, noun
demoralizingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for demoralize
  • Such actions, as history shows, do not demoralize or hasten the defeat of an enemy.
  • Anonymous teaching evaluations only serve to inflate grades and demoralize the faculty.
  • The weapons of war are designed to devastate and demoralize foot soldiers.
  • Field workers have been known to find creative ways to boost the morale of their own troops or demoralize the other side.
  • He is clearly saying it to inflict pain and demoralize people.
  • Delay in investigating the charge can demoralize affected staff and may adversely affect witness credibility.
  • When white supremacists could not halt the civil rights movement, they tried to demoralize its supporters.
  • Your efforts, and the president's, have done nothing but demoralize teachers and turn them into the enemy in the public eye.
  • The challenge is to create a process for change that will not strengthen resistance and demoralize staff.
  • It can also use further provocative techniques to demoralize the adversary.
British Dictionary definitions for demoralize


verb (transitive)
to undermine the morale of; dishearten he was demoralized by his defeat
to debase morally; corrupt
to throw into confusion
Derived Forms
demoralization, demoralisation, noun
demoralizer, demoraliser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for demoralize
c.1793, "to corrupt the morals of," from Fr. demoraliser, from de- "remove" + moral (adj.) (see moral). Said to be a coinage of the Fr. Revolution. Sense of "lower the morale of" (especially of armies) is first recorded 1848.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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