abase


abase
abase, demean, debase, degrade, humble, humiliate are synonymous when they denote to lower in one’s own estimation or in that of others.
Abase suggests loss of dignity or prestige without necessarily implying permanency in that loss. When used reflexively it connotes humility, abjectness, or a sense of one’s inferiority; in this reflexive use humble is often used interchangeably
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whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased [DV and RV humbled]; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted— Lk 14:11

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Demean implies less humility than abase but is stronger in its implications of loss of dignity or social standing
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it was . . . Mrs. Sedley’s opinion that her son would demean himself by a marriage with an artist’s daughter— Thackeray

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Debase emphasizes deterioration in value or quality: it is more often used of things
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debase the currency

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but when used of persons it commonly connotes weakening of moral standards or of the moral character
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officeholders debase themselves by accepting bribes

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struggle with Hannibal had debased the Roman temper— Buchan

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Degrade stresses a lowering in plane rather than in rank and often conveys a strong implication of the shamefulness of the condition to which someone or something has been reduced
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that she and Charlotte, two spent old women, should be . . . talking to each other of hatred, seemed unimaginably hideous and degradingWharton

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Often (especially in degradation) it connotes actual degeneracy or corruption
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it was by that unscrupulous person’s liquor her husband had been degradedHardy

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Humble is frequently used in place of degrade in the sense of demote when the ignominy of the reduction in rank is emphasized
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we are pleased . . . to see him taken down and humbledSpectator

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When it is employed without any implication of demotion, it often suggests a salutary increase of humility or the realization of one’s own littleness or impotence
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it was one of those illnesses from which we turn away our eyes, shuddering and humbledDeland

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Occasionally it implies a lowering in station
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in such a man . . . a race illustrious for heroic deeds, humbled, but not degraded, may expire— Wordsworth

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Humiliate, once a close synonym of humble, now comes closer to mortify, for it stresses chagrin and shame
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when we ask to be humbled, we must not recoil from being humiliatedRossetti

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Analogous words: cringe, truckle, cower, *fawn, toady: grovel (see WALLOW): abash, discomfit, disconcert, *embarrass: mortify (see corresponding adjective at ASHAMED)
Antonyms: exalt: extol (especially oneself)
Contrasted words: magnify, aggrandize (see EXALT): elevate, *lift, raise: laud, acclaim, *praise

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abase — A*base ([.a]*b[=a]s ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Abased} ([.a]*b[=a]st ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Abasing}.] [F. abaisser, LL. abassare, abbassare; ad + bassare, fr. bassus low. See {Base}, a.] [1913 Webster] 1. To lower or depress; to throw or cast down; as …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abase — is an early 1970s text based computer game for BASIC designed by People s Computer Company similar to the game Number . In the game Abase , one chooses a base from 2 to 10 and guesses a number the computer has chosen in that base. The game… …   Wikipedia

  • abase — abase; abase·ment; …   English syllables

  • abase — ► VERB (abase oneself) ▪ behave in a way that lessens others respect for one. DERIVATIVES abasement noun. ORIGIN Old French abaissier to lower …   English terms dictionary

  • abase — I verb abuse, adulterate, belittle, bring down, brutalize, calumniate, debase, decivilize, defame, deform, degrade, demean, demote, derogate, diminish, discredit, disgrace, dishonor, downgrade, humble, humiliate, lower, pervert, reduce, set down …   Law dictionary

  • abase — (v.) late 14c., abaishen, from O.Fr. abaissier diminish, make lower in value or status (12c.), from V.L. *ad bassiare bring lower, from L.L. bassus thick, fat, low; from the same source as BASE (Cf. base) (adj.) and altered 16c. in English by… …   Etymology dictionary

  • abase — [v] deprive of self esteem, confidence belittle, debase, degrade, demean, diminish, disgrace, dishonor, humble, humiliate, lower, mortify, reduce, shame; concepts 7,19 Ant. cherish, dignify, exalt, extol, honor, respect …   New thesaurus

  • abase — [ə bās′] vt. abased, abasing [ME abessen < OFr abaissier < ML abassare, to lower, bring down < L ad (see A 2) + VL bassus, low] 1. to humble or humiliate [he abased himself before the king] 2. Archaic to lower; cast down SYN. DEGRADE …   English World dictionary

  • abase — UK [əˈbeɪs] / US verb Word forms abase : present tense I/you/we/they abase he/she/it abases present participle abasing past tense abased past participle abased formal abase yourself Derived word: abasement noun uncountable …   English dictionary

  • abase — verb /əˈbeɪs/ a) To lower physically or depress; to stoop; to throw or cast down; as, to abase the eye. Saying so, he abased his lance. b) To cast down or to lower, as in rank, office, condition in life or estimation of wort …   Wiktionary


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