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Abase vs Debase vs Demean vs Degrade vs Humble vs Humiliate

Abase, Debase, Demean, Degrade, Humble and Humiliate all mean to lessen in dignity or status.

Abase suggests losing or voluntarily yielding up dignity or prestige.

  • I watched my colleagues abasing themselves before the board of trustees.

Debase emphasizes loss of worth or quality and especially deterioration of moral standards.

  • Sport is being debased by commercial sponsorship.

Demean suggests unsuitable behavior or association as the cause of loss of status.

  • I wouldn’t demean myself by asking for charity.

Degrade suggests a downward step, sometimes in rank, more often in ethical stature, and typically implies a shameful or corrupt end.

  • When I asked him if he had ever been to a prostitute he said he wouldn’t degrade himself like that.

Humble frequently replaces degrade when the disgrace of a reduction in status is to be emphasized.

  • He was humbled by the child’s generosity.

Humiliate implies the severe wounding of one’s pride and the causing of deep shame.

  • The party was humiliated in the recent elections.