Villainize is a great word to use if one wants to flag some kind of negative bias. However, it seems to carry an implied usage for people: things that can't be anthropomorphized may not sound quite right. To illustrate:

I've never came across anyone who _______ certificates of deposits and money market funds as much/scornfully as him.

If we inserted "villainizes" there, the meaning is clear enough, but there is a part of me that wants to do better, if possible, while keeping the sentence structure intact. Has anyone any comments / suggestions?

1 Answer 1



to say or write unpleasant things about someone or something, in order to cause other people to have a bad opinion of them

  • In fact, they vilified the international market to such an extent that foreign military threats and hostile foreign diplomacy became insignificant. (Cambridge)

You could also use denigrate or discredit, but they are weaker than vilify.

  • Good choice. I might add malign to the list.
    – Anton
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 7:30
  • 1
    Note that the English causative suffixes -ize and -ify are in complementary distribution. Villain takes -ize, but the bare stem vili- takes -ify. It's the same word, though used for different purposes. Which is the way it worked out. Just evolution. Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 13:29
  • The word "disparage" would also work well there.
    – Caledon
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 16:52

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