• synonyms


See more synonyms for demote on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·mot·ed, de·mot·ing.
  1. to reduce to a lower grade, rank, class, or position (opposed to promote): They demoted the careless waiter to busboy.
Show More

Origin of demote

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95; de- + (pro)mote
Related formsde·mo·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for demote

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Billy Kasker wandered off for a few moments and I had to demote him.

    Be It Ever Thus

    Robert Moore Williams

British Dictionary definitions for demote


  1. (tr) to lower in rank or position; relegate
Show More
Derived Formsdemotion, noun

Word Origin

C19: from de- + (pro) mote
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 demote


1881, American English coinage from de- + stem of promote. Said to have been Midwestern in origin.

Regarding an antithesis to 'promote,' the word universally in use in Cambridge, in Harvard College, is drop. The same word is in use in the leading schools here (Boston). I hope I may be counted every time against such barbarisms as 'demote' and 'retromote.' [Edward Everett Hale, 1892, letter to the publishers of "Funk & Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary"]

Related: Demoted; demoting.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper