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. (see also: Debase vs Vitiate vs Deprave vs Corrupt vs Debauch vs Pervert )
- Sport is being debased by commercial sponsorship.
Demean suggests unsuitable behavior or association as the cause of loss of status. (see also: Behave vs Conduct vs Comport vs Demean vs Deport vs Acquit vs Quit )
- 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. (see also: Degrade vs Demote vs Reduce vs Declass vs Disrate )
- 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. (see also: Humble vs Meek vs Modest vs Lowly )
- 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.