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verb (used with object), vil·i·fied, vil·i·fy·ing.
  1. to speak ill of; defame; slander.
  2. Obsolete. to make vile.
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Origin of vilify

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Late Latin word vīlificāre. See vile, -fy
Related formsvil·i·fi·ca·tion, nounvil·i·fi·er, nounvil·i·fy·ing·ly, adverbun·vil·i·fied, adjective
Can be confusedvilify villainize


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

revile, decry, smear, denounce, defame, berate, malign, damn, denigrate, mistreat, assail, disparage, slander, blister, knock, cuss, curse, debase, jinx, slur

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British Dictionary definitions for vilify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
  1. to revile with abusive or defamatory language; malignhe has been vilified in the tabloid press
  2. rare to make vile; debase; degrade
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Derived Formsvilification (ˌvɪlɪfɪˈkeɪʃən), nounvilifier, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin vīlificāre, from Latin vīlis worthless + facere to make
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 vilify


mid-15c., "to lower in worth or value," from Late Latin vilificare "to make cheap or base," from Latin vilis "cheap, base" (see vile) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Meaning "to slander, speak evil of" is first recorded 1590s. Related: Vilified, vilifying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper