verb (used with object), dep·re·cat·ed, dep·re·cat·ing.

to express earnest disapproval of.
to urge reasons against; protest against (a scheme, purpose, etc.).
to depreciate; belittle.
Archaic. to pray for deliverance from.

Origin of deprecate

1615–25; < Latin dēprecātus prayed against, warded off (past participle of dēprecārī), equivalent to dē- de- + prec(ārī) to pray + -ātus -ate1
Related formsdep·re·cat·ing·ly, adverbdep·re·ca·tion, noundep·re·ca·tor, nounhalf-dep·re·cat·ing, adjectivehalf-dep·re·cat·ing·ly, adverbnon·dep·re·cat·ing, adjectivenon·dep·re·cat·ing·ly, adverbun·dep·re·cat·ed, adjectiveun·dep·re·cat·ing, adjectiveun·dep·re·cat·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confuseddeprecate depreciate (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms for deprecate

Synonym study

1. See decry.

Usage note

An early and still the most current sense of deprecate is “to express disapproval of.” In a sense development still occasionally criticized by a few, deprecate has come to be synonymous with the similar but etymologically unrelated word depreciate in the sense “belittle”: The author modestly deprecated the importance of his work. In compounds with self-, deprecate has almost totally replaced depreciate in modern usage: Her self-deprecating account of her career both amused and charmed the audience. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deprecation

Historical Examples of deprecation

  • The pink plump face was contorted in a furtive grimace of deprecation.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • "I was obliged to go to college, sir," said Arthur, in a tone of deprecation.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • "My dear, I never said a word but what it was good; I never had any other thought," returned he, with deprecation.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • The hand of the man dropped in outward motion of deprecation.

  • Beasley was serious again, and wore an air of deprecation when he answered her.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for deprecation


verb (tr)

to express disapproval of; protest against
to depreciate (a person, someone's character, etc); belittle
archaic to try to ward off by prayer
Derived Formsdeprecating, adjectivedeprecatingly, adverbdeprecation, noundeprecative, adjectivedeprecatively, adverbdeprecator, noun

Word Origin for deprecate

C17: from Latin dēprecārī to avert, ward off by entreaty, from de- + precārī to pray


Avoid confusion with depreciate
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 deprecation

c.1500, "prayer to avert evil," from Middle French deprécation, from Latin deprecationem (nominative deprecatio), from past participle stem of deprecari "plead in excuse, avert by prayer," literally "to pray (something) away," from de- "away" (see de-) + precari "pray" (see pray). Sense of "disapproval" is first attested 1610s.



1620s, "to pray against or for deliverance from," from Latin deprecatus, past participle of deprecari "to pray (something) away" (see deprecation). Meaning "to express disapproval" is from 1640s. Related: Deprecated, deprecating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper