Definition of demote in English:



  • Give (someone) a lower rank or less senior position, usually as a punishment.

    ‘the head of the army was demoted to deputy defense secretary’
    • ‘I can't believe they're demoting her to a lower class soldier!’
    • ‘Two of the soldiers were demoted, and all three were ordered to forfeit their salaries.’
    • ‘No new contract was entered into when he was demoted to the position of customer services assistant.’
    • ‘I have never known of anybody being demoted or removed from a particular role purely because they cannot manage people.’
    • ‘Instead he was demoted two lower grades but was able to collect all his retirement benefits without a hitch.’
    • ‘He was suspended on a slightly reduced salary for six months, and then he was demoted.’
    • ‘Besides simply kicking a player out of a squadron, commanders will be able to permanently ban them and demote players under their rank for the worst offences.’
    • ‘Even if it's just demoting a person or telling a department they have to move elsewhere within the firm, language massaging is crucial.’
    • ‘Last year the team was demoted from senior ranks but are back up again.’
    • ‘In this context, he was demoted to a position as judge of the dead.’
    • ‘Gerald, I am sorry to do this but I hereby demote you to the rank of ensign and I am confining you to your quarters till further notice.’
    • ‘He is demoted from head of ad sales for a major magazine when the company he works for is acquired in a corporate takeover.’
    • ‘He stops mid-stride and grins at me… ‘Hey, you can't stop now… keep going or I'll demote you to just being an ordinary hero’.’
    • ‘It's a general rule of management that you never demote anybody important: You fire them, and fast, or else they will sabotage your organization.’
    • ‘Prof McKeon said while employers were deemed to be less understanding and people were less forthcoming in the workplace about their depression, the employers were not engaging in demoting such people or impairing their job prospects.’
    • ‘He was also demoted to private and ordered to forfeit all pay and benefits.’
    • ‘This must have been nearly as shocking as that dark day lost in history when she was demoted from her position as milk monitor at primary school.’
    • ‘Whenever I tell some guy I like him, he demotes me to friendship.’
    • ‘When he was demoted for a disciplinary violation, his mother told him he could leave the academy if he wanted.’
    • ‘Coffey said she was demoted to the copy desk because of her religious beliefs.’
    downgrade, relegate, declass, move down, lower in rank, reduce in rank, strip of rank, reduce to the ranks
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: from de- ‘down’ + a shortened form of promote.