[dih-mawr-uh-lahyz, -mor-]

verb (used with object), de·mor·al·ized, de·mor·al·iz·ing.

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, de·mor·al·ise.

Origin of demoralize

From the French word démoraliser, dating back to 1785–95. See de-, moral, -ize
Related formsde·mor·al·i·za·tion, nounde·mor·al·iz·er, nounde·mor·al·iz·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for demoralising

Historical Examples of demoralising

  • 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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for demoralising



verb (tr)

to undermine the morale of; disheartenhe was demoralized by his defeat
to debase morally; corrupt
to throw into confusion
Derived Formsdemoralization or demoralisation, noundemoralizer or 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

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