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denigrate (DEN-i-grayt) verb tr.

To defame or belittle.

[From Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare (to blacken), from de- (completely) + nigrare (to make black), ultimately from Indo-European root nek(w)t (night). Other words derived from the same root are night, nocturnal, and equinox.]

See more usage examples of denigrate in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"He told them they were not expected to be Sunday-school teachers. 'But often you feel compelled to berate and denigrate people you have to apprehend, but your behaviour must not blur your image as a police officer.'" Ucill Cambridge; Mind Your Manners, Cops Told; Trinidad and Tobago Express; Jun 14, 2004.

"It found most (films) contain characters portrayed as 'crazy,' 'nuts' and 'mad' and who were shunned and denigrated as a result." Disney Cartoons Give Mentally Ill a Rough Ride, Canadian Study Says; Montreal Gazette (Canada); May 20, 2004.

This week's theme: words to highlight rankism.


He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. -Immanuel Kant, philosopher (1724-1804)

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