Ask Difference

Decry vs. Denounce — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 8, 2024
Decry implies expressing strong disapproval, while denounce involves publicly condemning or informing against.
Decry vs. Denounce — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Decry and Denounce


Key Differences

Decrying is the act of publicly expressing disapproval or criticism of something, highlighting its flaws or negative aspects. This term often suggests a moral or aesthetic judgment. On the other hand, denouncing goes a step further by not only criticizing but also condemning something or someone, often in a formal or official context. Denouncing can also imply accusing someone of wrongdoing or declaring something to be wrong or evil.
While decrying can be seen as a form of protest or disapproval, denouncing carries a stronger connotation of public shaming or informing against someone. For example, one might decry the state of public education, focusing on its shortcomings, whereas denouncing a public official involves a formal accusation of misconduct.
Decrying tends to focus on the expression of disapproval itself, without necessarily calling for action. In contrast, denouncing often implies a call to action or a demand for change, as it usually targets specific individuals, organizations, or practices deemed harmful or unethical.
The context in which these terms are used can also differ. Decrying is often associated with broader social or cultural issues, whereas denouncing is more commonly used in political, legal, or ethical contexts, where there is a clear perpetrator or an issue of moral or legal wrongdoing.
Understanding the nuances between decrying and denouncing is crucial in discussions about social, political, and ethical issues. While both involve expressions of disapproval, the intensity and implications of each action differ significantly.

Comparison Chart


To express strong disapproval.
To publicly condemn or accuse.


Criticism or disapproval.
Public shaming or accusation.


Broad issues, moral or aesthetic judgments.
Specific wrongdoings, political or ethical issues.


Expresses disapproval without necessarily calling for action.
Stronger, often includes a call to action or demand for change.


The act of disapproving itself.
Targeting specific individuals or practices for condemnation.

Compare with Definitions


The act of criticizing something to highlight its faults.
He decried the lack of creativity in modern cinema.


Expressing strong disapproval in a public way.
They denounced the company's environmental policies.


Expression of dissatisfaction with a particular situation.
She decried the state of the city's parks in her blog.


To make a formal accusation against.
The senator was denounced for accepting bribes.


Making a formal statement against something.
The organization decried the government's decision.


To inform against someone formally or officially.
She was denounced to the authorities by a colleague.


To publicly denounce or express strong disapproval of something.
Activists decried the new policy as unjust.


Announcing something as harmful or deserving punishment.
The act was denounced as a betrayal of trust.


To speak out against something in a disapproving manner.
He decried the commercialization of the holiday.


To publicly condemn someone or something as wrong or evil.
The minister denounced the violence at the rally.


To express disapproval of (a person); denounce
"I could not bear to hear my old nurse so decried" (Charles Dickens).


To condemn openly as being wrong or reprehensible.


To depreciate (currency, for example) by official proclamation or by rumor.


To inform against (someone); accuse publicly.


(transitive) To denounce as harmful.


To give formal announcement of the ending of (a treaty).


(transitive) To blame for ills.


To make known in a formal manner; to proclaim; to announce; to declare.


To cry down; to censure as faulty, mean, or worthless; to clamor against; to blame clamorously; to discredit; to disparage.
For small errors they whole plays decry.
Measures which are extolled by one half of the kingdom are naturally decried by the other.


(transitive) To criticize or speak out against (someone or something); to point out as deserving of reprehension, etc.; to openly accuse or condemn in a threatening manner; to invoke censure upon; to stigmatize; to blame.
To denounce someone as a swindler, or as a coward


Express strong disapproval of;
We condemn the racism in South Africa
These ideas were reprobated


(transitive) To make a formal or public accusation against; to inform against; to accuse.
To denounce a confederate in crime
To denounce someone to the authorities


To proclaim in a threatening manner; to threaten by some outward sign or expression; make a menace of.
To denounce war; to denounce punishment


(transitive) To announce the termination of; especially a treaty or armistice.


To claim the right of working a mine that is abandoned or insufficiently worked.


To make known in a solemn or official manner; to declare; to proclaim (especially an evil).
Denouncing wrath to come.
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish.


To proclaim in a threatening manner; to threaten by some outward sign or expression.
His look denounced desperate.


To point out as deserving of reprehension or punishment, etc.; to accuse in a threatening manner; to invoke censure upon; to stigmatize.
Denounced for a heretic.
To denounce the immoralities of Julius Cæsar.


Speak out against;
He denounced the Nazis


To accuse or condemn or openly or formally or brand as disgraceful;
He denounced the government action
She was stigmatized by society because she had a child out of wedlock


Announce the termination of, as of treaties


Give away information about somebody;
He told on his classmate who had cheated on the exam

Common Curiosities

Can you decry without denouncing?

Yes, you can decry something by expressing disapproval without necessarily condemning it or calling for punitive action.

Is denouncing stronger than decrying?

Yes, denouncing is generally considered stronger than decrying because it not only involves criticism but also a public condemnation or formal accusation.

Why is denouncing considered a serious action?

Denouncing is considered serious because it not only implicates wrongdoing but also often involves a call for accountability, potentially leading to legal or social consequences.

What is the impact of decrying on social issues?

Decrying can bring attention to social issues and generate public discourse, potentially leading to calls for action or change.

Is it necessary to denounce wrongdoing?

While not always necessary, denouncing wrongdoing can be important for ethical accountability and justice, especially in cases of serious ethical or legal violations.

Can an action be both decried and denounced?

Yes, an action can be both decried and denounced, especially if it is widely viewed as harmful or unethical, attracting both general disapproval and formal condemnation.

What does it mean to denounce someone?

To denounce someone means to publicly condemn them or inform against them, often in a formal or official context.

How do media outlets use decry and denounce?

Media outlets may use "decry" to report on expressions of disapproval or criticism, and "denounce" to report on formal condemnations or accusations against individuals or entities.

Can a government decry policies of another country?

Yes, governments often decry policies or actions of other countries as a way of expressing disapproval without taking formal action.

What does it mean to decry something?

Decrying something means publicly expressing strong disapproval or criticism of it.

What role do public figures play in decrying or denouncing issues?

Public figures can amplify issues by decrying or denouncing them, drawing public attention and potentially influencing policy or social change.

How can individuals effectively decry or denounce injustices?

Individuals can effectively decry or denounce injustices by using platforms to speak out, participating in activism, and supporting organizations that fight against those injustices.

What is the relationship between decrying and protesting?

Decrying can be a form of protesting, where expressing disapproval serves as a way to highlight issues and demand change.

Can decrying lead to change?

Yes, decrying can lead to change by raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion against certain practices or policies.

How does the legal system use the concept of denouncing?

The legal system uses denouncing to formally accuse individuals of crimes and to condemn actions that are against the law, signaling societal disapproval and the need for punishment.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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