Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To attack the character or reputation of; speak ill of; defame.
  • transitive v. To disparage; belittle: The critics have denigrated our efforts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To criticise so as to besmirch; traduce, disparage or defame.
  • v. To treat as worthless; belittle, degrade or disparage.
  • v. To blacken.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To blacken thoroughly; to make very black.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To blacken or sully; to defame.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To blacken; make black.
  • Blackened; turned black.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone
  • v. cause to seem less serious; play down

Etymologies

Latin dēnigrāre, dēnigrāt-, to blacken, defame : dē-, de- + niger, nigr-, black.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dēnigrātus, the past participle of dēnigrāre ("to blacken"), from + nigrare 'to blacken (from niger ("black")) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • BTW, what the heck does my being black have to do with use of the word denigrate, when that word describes what I mean to say?

    Firedoglake » It’s Bill Clinton’s Fault

  • In Venezuela, it is illegal to publish news accountsthat might be deemed to "denigrate" President Hugo Ch vez.

    Argentina Moves to Seize Newsprint Firm

  • I often do that ... but please quote where I "denigrate" Cao's (possible) naivete of the political establishment (which I actually consider to be a personal virtue, btw) and please quote where I call into question this guy's "sanity"?

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • KURTZ: But Obama does this a lot, where he takes these swipes at cable television and the pundits, and you can tell that he likes to try to stake out a middle ground and kind of denigrate the press in the process, which is his right.

    CNN Transcript May 24, 2009

  • To that extent and to the extent that he thought the Khmer Rouge considered Phnom Penh "Sodom and Gomorrah" Sampson did indeed "denigrate" the food imperative of the evacuation.

    Good Luck Sailor

  • As a matter of fact, they kind of denigrate the whole idea of tankless heaters:

    Hot water « knitnut.net

  • And, clearly, that's -- that's really a-- a way to kind of denigrate these cultures and these religions by justifying these really heinous acts in this way.

    CNN Transcript May 18, 2007

  • Mr. Stollery Liberal Senator agreed that there is a campaign in Canada to "denigrate" UN operations.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • Hundreds of people have been arrested under the same section of the law, which also makes it an offence to "denigrate" the 79-year - old dictator, under whose rule since 1980 one of the most prosperous economies in Africa has been brought to its knees.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • To acknowledge and analyze the presence and power of certain "iron cages" in America is not to "denigrate" this country nor to deny the existence of "iron cages" elsewhere in the world whatever their forms and sizes.

    America the Bad?

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