Degenerate vs denigrate

and denigrate are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables degenerate and denigrate, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Degenerate means to deteriorate, to lose quality, to sink into a lower physical, mental, or moral state. Degenerate is used as a verb to mean the act of sinking into a lower state; an adjective, to describe a low state one has sunk to; or a noun, to mean someone who has sunk into a lower physical, mental, or moral state. Related words are degenerates, degenerated, degenerating, degeneration. The word degenerate is derived from the Latin word, degenerare, which means to be less than one’s ancestors.

Denigrate means to belittle, defame, or disparage. Denigrate is a verb; related words are denigrates, denigrated, denigrating. The word denigrate is derived from the Latin word, denigrare, which means to defame.


DANA WHITE said he is a ‘degenerate gambler’ and admitted to losing a staggering $1million boxing bet once. (The Sun)

The degenerate’s faulty memory of the encounter was, like his unhinged claims that Trump was cheated out of the White House, an obscene fantasy conjured from the dark corners of his subconscious where make-believe meets wish-fulfilment. (Irish Times)

The media’s actions denigrate the very financial structure of America, based on the corporation, as a soulless entity and recommends strong controls by the soulless government bureaucracies responsible to no one. (Santa Barbara Independent)

A senior Trump counterintelligence official said on Friday afternoon that Russia “is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden” and that “Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media.” (Mother Jones Magazine)

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