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[dih-mawr-uh-lahyz, -mor-] /dɪˈmɔr əˌlaɪz, -ˈmɒr-/
verb (used with object), demoralized, demoralizing.
to deprive (a person or persons) of spirit, courage, discipline, etc.; destroy the morale of:
The continuous barrage demoralized the infantry.
to throw (a person) into disorder or confusion; bewilder:
We were so demoralized by that one wrong turn that we were lost for hours.
to corrupt or undermine the morals of.
Also, especially British, demoralise.
Origin of demoralize
From the French word démoraliser, dating back to 1785-95. See de-, moral, -ize
Related forms
demoralization, noun
demoralizer, noun
demoralizingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for demoralising
Historical Examples
  • demoralising as it was for men, it did at least leave them the free use of their minds.

  • However, the Anthonys were free from all demoralising influences.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • But the weary, demoralising, despairing monotony has vanished.

    Maxim Gorki

    Hans Ostwald
  • Begging is demoralising, and should be discountenanced in every country.

    Olla Podrida Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
  • All this was demoralising, so Gordon decided on an immediate change.

    General Gordon

    Seton Churchill
  • Yet the majority had persevered in this demoralising system.

  • That was not demoralising to the Afghans, who have not European nerves.

    Soldier Stories Rudyard Kipling
  • No one can have an idea of how demoralising this rain of projectiles was.

  • I think the effects of what I have been stating are most debasing and demoralising.

  • But it is the noise which has a demoralising effect on the educated brain.

    John Brown Captain R. W. Campbell
British Dictionary definitions for demoralising


verb (transitive)
to undermine the morale of; dishearten: he was demoralized by his defeat
to debase morally; corrupt
to throw into confusion
Derived Forms
demoralization, demoralisation, noun
demoralizer, demoraliser, noun
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 demoralising



c.1793, "to corrupt the morals of," from French démoraliser, from de- "remove" (see de-) + moral (adj.) (see moral). Said to be a coinage of the French Revolution. Sense of "lower the morale of" (especially of armies) is first recorded 1848. Related: Demoralized; demoralizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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