V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. to belittle someone or something; 2. to defame someone; 3. to deny the importance of something

Synonyms: belittle, impugn, besmirch, blacken, calumniate, defame, disparage, malign, revile, decry

Antonyms: acclaim, compliment

Tips: Denigrate comes from the Latin word denigrare, "to blacken completely." But its modern usage has lost the sense of completeness. Denigration may make something seem less important than someone thought it was, but it doesn't make it seem completely and irrevocably unimportant; instead, it merely chips away at its importance or good reputation. Denigrate is not as complete as demean, debase, or degrade, which all denote a complete reduction in title or worth. Denigrate is more synonymous with belittle, defame, disparage, or malign, which denote questioning or criticizing.

Usage Examples:

You shouldn't denigrate Phil's abilities; he isn't a great pianist, but he is talented. (belittle, disparage)

Even though the critics denigrated the author for her unpopular attitudes on many social issues, her book sold briskly and was widely quoted. (reviled, disparaged)

When she didn't win the award, she denigrated its importance and belittled the winner. (impugned, decried)

The President praised the contribution of our allies, while his opponent's in congress denigrated their contribution. (impugned, belittled)

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