tr.v. de·pre·cat·ed, de·pre·cat·ing, de·pre·cates
1. To express disapproval of; deplore.
2. To belittle; depreciate.
3. Computers To mark (a component of a software standard) as obsolete to warn against its use in the future so that it may be phased out.
[Latin dēprecārī, dēprecāt-, to ward off by prayer : dē-, de- + precārī, to pray; see prek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Deprecate originally meant “to pray in order to ward off something, ward off by prayer.” Perhaps because the occasion of such prayers was invariably one of dread, the word developed the more general meaning of disapproval, as in this quotation from Frederick Douglass: “Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” From here it was a small step to add the meaning “to make little of, disparage,” which was once the proper meaning of depreciate. This meaning of depreciate appears to have been overwhelmed by the word's use in the world of finances, where it means “to diminish (or cause to diminish) in price or value.” In similar fashion, the “disparage” sense of deprecate may be driving out the word's other uses.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.