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denigrate (verb) defame; criticize someone unjustly.
A person denigrates you when they defame you; when they talk as though you are not as great as people think you are. They denigrate you when they talk low of you, try to spread the opinion that you don't deserve the importance or respect you are given. This applies especially to people in high positions, or to those enjoying great regard.
- The article in the newspaper denigrates President Washington. It makes it appear that Washington was not the kind of man with the leadership qualities he is credited with.
- Idle people find great pleasure in denigrating the great, by giving us the impression that they know the darker side of the lives of the persons whose greatness they deny.