[dih-rog-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


tending to lessen the merit or reputation of a person or thing; disparaging; depreciatory: a derogatory remark.

Origin of derogatory

1495–1505; < Late Latin dērogātōrius cursing, equivalent to dērogā(re) (see derogate) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsde·rog·a·to·ri·ly, adverbde·rog·a·to·ri·ness, nounnon·de·rog·a·to·ri·ly, adverbnon·de·rog·a·to·ri·ly·ness, nounnon·de·rog·a·to·ry, adjective

Synonyms for derogatory

belittling, uncomplimentary, denigrating. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for derogatory

Contemporary Examples of derogatory

Historical Examples of derogatory

  • That officer thought the ox-cart was derogatory to the dignity of the army.


    Frank Fox

  • In his haste he had said derogatory things about Robin in his heart, which was unreasonable.

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

  • He bristled at the derogatory title but he covered it quickly.

    Highways in Hiding

    George Oliver Smith

  • She used the caste rating as though it was not quite a derogatory term.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • They warmly shook hands, as Roger did not consider it derogatory.

    Roger Willoughby

    William H. G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for derogatory



tending or intended to detract, disparage, or belittle; intentionally offensive
Derived Formsderogatorily, adverbderogatoriness, 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 derogatory

c.1500, from Late Latin derogatorius, from Latin derogatus, past participle of derogare "to take away, detract from, diminish," also "repeal partly, restrict, modify," from de- "away" (see de-) + rogare "ask, question, propose" (see rogation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper