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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for demoralized
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As soon as he arrived Primus laid siege to the heart of William John, captured it in six hours, and demoralized it in twenty-four.

    My Lady Nicotine J. M. Barrie
  • The anarchy that reigned had demoralized society, and they had suffered most.

    Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley
  • Aware that they had been trapped, the demoralized Mohawks scrambled from the tangle and fled into the night.

    Spotted Deer Elmer Gregor
  • It seemed to him just as though three weeks on shore had demoralized the ship's company.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • If this be true, which I do not believe, I can only say—shame upon the rulers, who have so demoralized their subjects!

    Rome in 1860 Edward Dicey
British Dictionary definitions for demoralized


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 demoralized



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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