Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
October 11th, 2014
Episode 2 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 11, 2014 is: derogate \DAIR-uh-gayt\ verb 1 : to cause to seem inferior : disparage 2 : to take away a part so as to impair : detract 3 : to act beneath one's position or character Examples: It is easy to derogate the prom committee for its lackluster theme now, but nobody came forward with any better ideas while it was being discussed. "In two national elections, American voters definitively entrusted that man with the job. That man represents the presidency. Politicians who publicly disrespect the man who holds that office derogate their own profession." Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times, June 23, 2014 Did you know? You're probably familiar with derogatory, the adjective meaning "expressing a low opinion," but you may not be as well-acquainted with the less common verb, derogate. Both words can be traced back to the Late Latin word derogatus, which is the past participle of the verb derogare, meaning "to detract" or "to annul (a law)." Derogare, in turn, derives from the Latin word for "ask," rogare. Derogate first appeared in English in the 15th century. Derogatory was adopted in the early 16th century, and has become much more popular than the verb. Other derogate relatives include derogative, derogation, and derogatorily.