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C. 1600, from Middle French decrier (to denigrate; depreciate), from Old French descrier (to shout) (modern décrier). Doublet of descry. The pejorative meaning had not been present in the Middle English loan, but it was present in the French word from at least the 13th century, with a meaning of "to denigrate; depreciate; to announce the depreciation or suppression of a currency", presumably from the interpretation of de- as meaning "down, inferior".


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈkɹaɪ/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪ


decry (third-person singular simple present decries, present participle decrying, simple past and past participle decried)

  1. (transitive) To denounce as harmful.
    • 1970, Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Bantam Books, pg. 99:
      All of us seem to need some totalistic relationships in our lives. But to decry the fact that we cannot have only such relationships is nonsense.
    • 1970, Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Bantam Books, pg. 474:
      While decrying bureaucracy and demanding participatory democracy they, themselves, frequently attempt to manipulate the very group of workers, blacks or students on whose behalf they demand participation.
  2. (transitive) To blame for ills.