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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for denigrates
  • He denigrates those who have broad knowledge and synthetic abilities of which he can't conceive.
  • Such lopsided point of view really denigrates the genuine cause of this action.
  • Dealing with other nations about climate change denigrates our basic principles and amounts to a surrender of sovereignty.
  • In everyone of these cases, the judge has refused to penalize the aggressive parent who alienates and denigrates the other parent.
  • However, this also denigrates the mediator's self image and may work against you.
British Dictionary definitions for denigrates


(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 denigrates



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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