1610s, "to cry down, speak disparagingly of;" 1640s, "clamor against actively and publicly," from French decrier (14c.; Old French descrier "cry out, announce"), from des- "apart" (see dis-) + crier "to cry," from Latin quiritare (see cry (v.)). In English, the sense has been colored by the presumption that de- in this word means "down."
Entries linking to decry
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.
The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").
In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).
mid-13c., "yell (something) out, utter" (transitive); c. 1300, "beg, implore; speak earnestly and loudly; advertise by calling out," from Old French crier, from Vulgar Latin *critare, from Latin quiritare "to wail, shriek" (source of Italian gridare, Old Spanish cridar, Spanish and Portuguese gritar), which is of uncertain origin.
Perhaps it is a variant of quirritare "to squeal like a pig," from *quis, echoic of squealing. Ancient folk etymology explained it as "to call for the help of the Quirites," the Roman constabulary.
The meaning was extended 13c. to the sense "shed tears" that had formerly been in weep, which it largely replaced by 16c., via the notion of "utter a loud, vehement, inarticulate sound." To cry (one's) eyes out "weep inordinately" is by 1704.
Most languages, in common with English, use the general word for "cry out, shout, wail" to also mean "weep, shed tears to express pain or grief." Romance and Slavic, however, use words for this whose ultimate meaning is "beat (the breast)," compare French pleurer, Spanish llorar, both from Latin plorare "cry aloud," but probably originally plodere "beat, clap the hands." Also Italian piangere (cognate with French plaindre "lament, pity") from Latin plangere, originally "beat," but especially of the breast, as a sign of grief. Related: Cried; crying.