9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-moht] /dɪˈmoʊt/
verb (used with object), demoted, demoting.
to reduce to a lower grade, rank, class, or position (opposed to promote):
They demoted the careless waiter to busboy.
Origin of demote
1890-95, Americanism; de- + (pro)mote
Related forms
demotion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for demote
  • To demote, when it came in during the war, was scarcely challenged.
  • It will become illegal for businesses to hire, promote or demote people on grounds of age.
  • However, make a mistake and the coach will demote you.
  • It's against the law to dock her pay or demote her to a lesser position because of pregnancy.
  • Seniority also is used to determine the rights of employees to demote in lieu of layoff.
  • The act also made it unlawful to fire or demote for political reasons employees who were covered by the law.
  • When an idea gets posted, others can help promote or demote the idea and provide comments.
  • When your idea gets posted, others can help promote or demote the idea and provide comments.
  • Public bodies must serve written notice upon employees they intend to terminate, discipline, or demote.
  • In case the board determines to remove or demote the chief of police, he shall be notified in writing.
British Dictionary definitions for demote


(transitive) to lower in rank or position; relegate
Derived Forms
demotion, noun
Word Origin
C19: from de- + (pro)mote
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 demote

1881, American English coinage from de- + stem of promote. Said to have been Midwestern in origin.

Regarding an antithesis to 'promote,' the word universally in use in Cambridge, in Harvard College, is drop. The same word is in use in the leading schools here (Boston). I hope I may be counted every time against such barbarisms as 'demote' and 'retromote.' [Edward Everett Hale, 1892, letter to the publishers of "Funk & Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary"]
Related: Demoted; demoting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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