• synonyms


[dih-mawr-uh-lahyz, -mor-]
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verb (used with object), de·mor·al·ized, de·mor·al·iz·ing.
  1. to deprive (a person or persons) of spirit, courage, discipline, etc.; destroy the morale of: The continuous barrage demoralized the infantry.
  2. to throw (a person) into disorder or confusion; bewilder: We were so demoralized by that one wrong turn that we were lost for hours.
  3. to corrupt or undermine the morals of.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for demoralizing

distressing, disappointing, unsettling, discouraging, depressing, upsetting, dispiriting

Examples from the Web for demoralizing

Contemporary Examples of demoralizing

Historical Examples of demoralizing

  • The Republic is not the demoralizing force some would have it believed.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

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


    Joseph Conrad

  • It is terrible to see how demoralizing our contact is to all sorts and conditions of men.

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

  • It is demoralizing,—it is to abandon the pride of conscious rectitude.

British Dictionary definitions for demoralizing



verb (tr)
  1. to undermine the morale of; disheartenhe was demoralized by his defeat
  2. to debase morally; corrupt
  3. to throw into confusion
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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 demoralizing



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper