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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 denigration
  • The verbiage devoted to the denigration of spell check could fill a dictionary.
  • Enthusiasm for new ideas had a corollary-the denigration of past idols.
  • As to your denigration of university preparation, you're completely off the wall.
  • We also savor the sound of the author's voice, an extraordinary blend of bitter self-denigration and sweet recollection.
  • Ali: tall and handsome, a magnetic figure who drew adulation and denigration alike.
  • The long-term effect of uncontrolled violations is a denigration of fisheries, sometimes to the point of decimation.
  • The connection between denigration of the self and human flourishing is complex.
  • These observations should in no way be construed as a denigration of the value of expertise.
  • We are ascending from the dark valley of denigration and rising to a new dawn for public service.
  • Henley also challenges the prosecution's denigration of the defense counsel in this case.
British Dictionary definitions for denigration


(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 denigration

early 15c., from Late Latin denigrationem (nominative denigratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin denigrare (see 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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