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[den-i-greyt] /ˈdɛn ɪˌgreɪt/
verb (used with object), denigrated, denigrating.
to speak damagingly of; criticize in a derogatory manner; sully; defame:
to denigrate someone's character.
to treat or represent as lacking in value or importance; belittle; disparage:
to denigrate someone's contributions to a project.
to make black; blacken:
rain clouds denigrating the sky.
Origin of denigrate
1520-30; < Latin dēnigrātus (past participle of dēnigrāre to blacken), equivalent to dē- de- + nigr(āre) to make black + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
denigration, noun
denigrative, adjective
denigrator, noun
[den-i-gruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈdɛn ɪ grəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
self-denigrating, adjective
self-denigration, noun
1. malign, besmirch, slander, traduce, disparage, vilify. See decry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for denigrate
  • It's more fashionable to denigrate than praise the media these days.
  • We've all heard people denigrate women's basketball because it's slower and different from the men's game.
  • Don't denigrate the poor, they're smarter about how to do with less then you could possibly imagine.
  • Now you know that those similar stereotypes bother a whole lot of women whom they don't encompass, and do denigrate.
  • Persons are free in this country until they set out to falsely denigrate someone else's reputation.
  • Use fair language that does not denigrate others, even when talking to yourself.
  • We are not going to let them denigrate our historic district.
  • Economists love to denigrate politicians but like it or not, the political process is how policies gain legitimacy.
  • They will sneer, denigrate and snub at every turn.
  • Children have a hard time respecting something when society at large, especially the media, denigrate schools and school work.
British Dictionary definitions for denigrate


(transitive) to belittle or disparage the character of; defame
a rare word for blacken
Derived Forms
denigration, noun
denigrator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dēnigrāre to make very black, defame, from nigrāre to blacken, from niger black
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 denigrate

1520s, from Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare "to blacken, defame," from de- "completely" (see de-) + nigr-, stem of niger "black" (see Negro). of unknown origin. "Apparently disused in 18th c. and revived in 19th c." [OED]. Related: Denigrated; denigrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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