Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Decry

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is decry. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Decry is a formal word that means “to express strong disapproval of.” 

// The editorial decried the shuttering of the movie theater, which has been a local landmark for many years.

DECRY in Context

“While some celebrated [Kim] Kardashian for her nod to the icon [Marilyn Monroe], others worried about the implications of her wearing the real gown. Costume historians and conservationists decried the unfortunate precedent it would set and the potential damage it could cause.” — Maureen Lee Lenker, Entertainment Weekly(, 16 May 2022

Did You Know?

Decry has several synonyms in English, among them disparage and belittle. Decry connotes an open condemnation that makes it the best choice for cases in which criticism is not at all veiled. The forthrightness expressed by the word is an echo from its ancestry: decry was borrowed in the 17th century from the French décrier, meaning “to discredit, depreciate,” and the crier in that word is also the source of our word cry, the oldest meaning of which is “to utter loudly; shout.”

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