Deprecate, Depreciate

By Sharon

Only one letter separates these two words, but there’s considerable difference in meaning. The word deprecate means to express disapproval of something. A synonym for deprecate in this context is to deplore.

Example: He deprecated his sister’s actions.

This means that he did not approve of his sister’s actions.

The word depreciate means to belittle or play down.

Example: He depreciated his sister’s achievements.

This means that he behaved as if his sister’s achievements were insignificant.

Depreciate also means to decrease in value. If you’ve ever owned a car, then you’ll know that every year it is worth less than the previous year. In other words, it has depreciated.

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6 Responses to “Deprecate, Depreciate”

  • Joy-Mari Cloete

    Would self-deprecating humour fall into this category?

  • Sharon

    Indeed it would, Joy-Mari, even though it’s probably in an ironic sense.

  • Aaron

    ‘Deprecated’ is used widely in software development when referring to a technique that is no longer encouraged or has been replaced by a superior technique.

    Is this another valid meaning or a frequent error?

  • Daniel

    Aaron, Wikipedia has an explanation for that term here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deprecation

    When you deprecate something, you strongly discourage its usage. That is why outdated techniques in software development are considered deprecated.

    It is in line with the original definition of the term.

  • Mikael Høilund

    Another way of remembering this is to see “depreciation” as the reverse of “appreciation.”

  • Chris

    So if appreciation is the opposite of depreciation, does apprecate mean to approve the use of something? Haha. I’m just kidding. Please don’t respond and correct my terribly unfunny use of the english language. Also, something involving the word irregardless.

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