Share this entry

demoralize Line breaks: de|mor¦al|ize
Pronunciation: /dɪˈmɒrəlʌɪz/
(also demoralise)

Definition of demoralize in English:


[with object]
1Cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope: the General Strike had demoralized the trade unions
More example sentences
  • The way you defeat an army, is by demoralizing the individual soldiers in it, or getting them to desert or retreat.
  • I object, not to the paperwork that demoralises teachers, but to the undermining of them as caring and knowledgeable professionals that it represents.
  • Now, the national side, which once ruled the football world with a haughty confidence, is completely demoralized and there's less than a year to prepare for the great campaign on home ground.
dishearten, dispirit, deject, cast down, depress, dismay, daunt, discourage, unman, unnerve, crush, sap, shake, throw, cow, subdue, undermine, devitalize, weaken, enfeeble, enervate;
break someone's spirit, bring someone low
informal knock the stuffing out of, knock for six, knock sideways
crushed, humbled, cowed, subdued;
informal fed up
British informal brassed off, cheesed off
vulgar slang pissed off
2 archaic Corrupt the morals of (someone): she hastened her daughter’s steps, lest she be demoralized by beholding the free manners of these ‘mad English
More example sentences
  • It is a perceptive account of life in an occupied city, in which victors and vanquished alike are corrupted and demoralized.
  • It is you and the like of you that deprave and demoralize youth and prepare criminals for the gallows.


Late 18th century: from French démoraliser (a word of the French Revolution), from dé- (expressing reversal) + moral 'moral', from Latin moralis.



Pronunciation: /dɪˌmɒrəlʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Alcohol as a destructive force in Apache culture is a phenomenon that dates from colonization, and it has been a byproduct of demoralization and despair.
  • The poor areas may have generated more crime and disorder as a consequence of anonymity, demoralization and despair.
  • This is not just demoralization; this is a clinical depression.


Example sentences
  • And so I think they'll come to the realization that as difficult as our political compromise is, as tough as it is to work it out, it is much better than the continuation of this grinding, dehumanizing, demoralizing conflict.
  • ‘You're not far now,’ she deadpanned, setting me up for a demoralizing final 3.8 miles.
  • Furthermore, nothing is more demoralizing for a company's personnel as when they realize they have to recreate hundreds of word documents and spreadsheets.


Example sentences
  • Much of the work needs effort to get started and can be demoralisingly difficult to complete.
  • The mile-markers passed one by one at demoralisingly infrequent intervals to anyone accustomed to training in kilometres.
  • She is also pleased to have completed her course, having found some of the statistics modules demoralisingly difficult and the reading load hard to keep up with.

Definition of demoralize in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day exemplum
Pronunciation: ɪɡˈzɛmpləm
an example or model...