To demote someone is to move them into a less important job. Your coffee shop boss might demote you to wiping tables if your attempts to froth milk and pull espresso shots continuously fail.

When your employer demotes you, she assigns you an easier task or even an entirely new, lower-ranked position. You may even earn less money. In the military, to demote is to move a soldier down in rank, usually as a punishment. The opposite of demote is promote, which came first. The prefix de- gives the word a sense of "down" or "down from."

Definitions of demote
  1. verb
    assign to a lower position; reduce in rank
    synonyms: break, bump, kick downstairs, relegate
    see moresee less
    advance, elevate, kick upstairs, promote, raise, upgrade
    give a promotion to or assign to a higher position
    remove from the center of activity or attention; place into an inferior position
    bring to humbler or weaker state or condition
    type of:
    assign, delegate, depute, designate
    give an assignment to (a person) to a post, or assign a task to (a person)
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week