CHAPTER 12 on Word Groups


Meaning: To criticize unfairly or to make (something) seem less important or valuable

Use: All attempts to denigrate the character of our late president have failed; the people still love him and cherish his memory.


Meaning: To describe (someone or something) as little or unimportant

Use: Perhaps should not belittle their children’ s early attempts at drawing but should encourage their efforts.


Meaning: To describe (someone or something) as unimportant, weak, bad etc.

Use: When Sara was given less pay as a secretary, she disparaged her boss as an idiot who didn’t deserve to be a supervisor.


Meaning: To criticize or express disapproval of (someone or something)

Use: The city spokesman deprecates the use of violence as done by some demonstrators.

DECRY (Verb)

Meaning: To express strong disapproval of

Use: Violence on TV is generally decried as being harmful to children.


Meaning: To insult (someone or something)

Use: Senator Johnson was warned that such a statement will derogate his reputation.




Explanation: Scorn (Noun) means a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval. Scornful (Adj.) is adjective form of word Scorn (Noun). Deride (Verb) means to ridicule or to talk about something in an insulting way. Derision (Noun) means scornful ridicule.

Satiric (Adj.) and Sarcastic (Adj.) deviates slightly. Satiric (Adj.) and Sarcastic (Adj.) means insulting using irony.


Meaning: Criticizing unfairly or making something less important or valuable


Meaning: Describing (someone or something) as little or unimportant


Meaning: Feeling or showing deep hatred or disapproval

Use: Paulette’s contemptuous tone of voice was dripping with unkindness and disrespect for the neighbor who would not keep his yard clean.


Meaning: Expressing strong disapproval of


Meaning: Showing strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something you think does not deserve respect

Use: “When Janine was at the restaurant, she looked at the plate which the waiter brought with a disdainful glare because it was not what she had ordered.”


Meaning: Criticizing or expressing disapproval of (someone or something)

Use: “Deprecatory remarks were made about the book.”


Meaning: 1) Causing (something) to have a lower price or value

2) Describing (something) as having little value

Use: These changes have greatly depreciated the value of the house.


Meaning: Lowering the dignity of someone

Use: The political candidate was demeaning her opponent.


Meaning: Expressing a belief that someone or something is ridiculous or without value

Use: The pawnbroker offered what I regarded as a derisory amount for the diamond ring.


Meaning: Insulting to someone or something

Use: When Alisa used the pejorative “you’re an idiot” with the young man, and although James was tempted to send stronger pejoratives back to her, much to his credit, he resisted the temptation.


Meaning: Using irony to defame or insult someone

Use Her sarcastic comments that my singing reminded her of the time her dog was sick.


Meaning: Showing disrespect or scorn for someone or something

Use: Shirley had a sardonic smile when she was told what a wonderful dress she was wearing.


Meaning: Using humor or irony etc. to criticize or ridicule

Use: They soon acquired a satiric and disrespectful tone which made the authorities uneasy.


Meaning: Feeling or showing that someone is not worthy of any respect or approval

Use: He is scornful of anyone who disagrees with his political beliefs.


Meaning: Expressing a low opinion of someone or something

Use: An uncomplimentary description of the town in which the writer grew up.



Explanation: Disdain (Verb) means to treat someone with disdain (Noun).

Contempt (Noun) has second meaning also. Contempt (Noun) means speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge.


Meaning: A feeling of strong dislike or disapproval of someone or something

Use: The mayor regarded the proposal for building a shopping center in the city park with disdain.


Meaning: To strongly dislike or disapprove of (someone or something)

Use: They disdained him for being weak.


Meaning: 1) A feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval

2) Speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge

Use: She has displayed a profound contempt for her opponents.


Explanation: Bereaved (Adj.) means sad because a family member or friend has recently died. Plangent (Adj.) and Plaintive (Adj.) means expressing sadness.


Meaning: Sad, especially because a family member or friend, has recently died

Use: Many families have been bereaved following the deaths of men doing an honest day’ s work.


Meaning: Very sad and disappointed

Use: He came back empty-handed and crestfallen.


Meaning: Sad and in low spirits because of failure, loss etc.

Use: The dejected players slowly made their way to the locker room, where they could mourn their defeat in private.


Meaning: Very sad and without hope

Use: Jeremiah was very despondent about losing his job after fifteen years with the company; however, the business was having economic problems and laying off many of its employees.


Meaning: Very unhappy or sad

Use: Survivors of the tornadoes were even more disconsolate when they saw the destruction that resulted.


Meaning: Very sad

Use: Jimmy was in a state of doleful misery when his dog was run over by a car.


Meaning: Marked by or expressing misery or grief

Use: After dinner, June had a dolorous feeling in her stomach and thought that she had eaten too much ice cream for dessert!


Meaning: 1) Sad and lonely

2) Hopeless

Use: Deserted by her big sisters and her friends, the forlorn child sat sadly on the steps awaiting their return.

GLUM (Adj.)

Meaning: Sad or depressed

Use: There is no need to look so glum- things will get better soon.


Meaning: Full of sadness or sorrow

Use: Danny wore lugubrious mourning clothing although he didn’t really feel sad about his uncle’s death.


Meaning: Very sad

Use: She becomes quite melancholic when she reflects on all the lost opportunities of her life.


Meaning: Very sad or unhappy

Use: Those morose job seekers who have grown accustomed to rejection.


Meaning: Very sad

Use: She had such a mournful expression that someone teasingly asked if her dog had died.


Meaning: Expressing suffering or sadness

Use: Mark heard the plaintive cries from the woman who had just slipped on the icy sidewalk and fallen; so, he rushed to help her and he used his cell phone to call for an ambulance to come so she could receive medical aid.


Meaning: Loud and mournful

Use: A plangent, haunting song about a long-ago love.


Meaning: Very serious and unhappy

Use: Do not be misled by his saturnine countenance; he is not as gloomy as he looks.


Meaning: Very sad and serious

Use: She spoke in sepulchral whispers.


Meaning: Very sad

Use: He sounded so woeful, is expression so longing, that I had felt sympathy for him.

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