Borrowed from Late Latin dērogātōrius, from Latin dērogāre; corresponding to derogate +‎ -ory.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈɹɒɡətɹi/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪˈɹɑɡətɔɹi/


derogatory (comparative more derogatory, superlative most derogatory)

  1. Disparaging.
  2. (usually with to) Tending to derogate:
    Synonym: injurious
    • 1849, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter X, in The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume II, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, OCLC 1069526323, page 626:
      The Tories [] knew that [] the House which should be the first to come to a resolution would have a great advantage over the other. [] The Commons had determined that, on Monday the twenty-eighth of January, they would take into consideration the state of the nation. The Tory Lords therefore proposed, on Friday the twenty-fifth, to enter instantly on the great business  []. But [] Devonshire moved that Tuesday the twenty-ninth should be the day. “By that time,” he said with more truth than discretion, “we may have some lights from below which may be useful for our guidance.” His motion was carried; but his language was severely censured by some of his brother peers as derogatory to their order.
    1. Reducing the power or value of (a governmental body, etc); detracting from.
      • 1768, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England
        Acts of Parliament derogatory from the power of subsequent Parliaments bind not.
    2. Lessening the worth of (a person, etc); expressing derogation; insulting.
      • 2018, Ben Rothenberg in The New York Times
        Billie Jean King said Friday that the Australian Open’s Margaret Court Arena should have its name changed because of Court’s derogatory comments about gay and transgender people.
  3. (law, of a clause in a testament) Being or pertaining to a derogatory clause.

Usage notesEdit

In common language, particularly used in the phrase “derogatory term”, where it is equivalent to less common pejorative, and in “derogatory statements”, equivalent to more casual offensive.


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derogatory (plural derogatories)

  1. A trade-line on a credit report that includes negative credit history.

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