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[uh-beys] /əˈbeɪs/
verb (used with object), abased, abasing.
to reduce or lower, as in rank, office, reputation, or estimation; humble; degrade.
Archaic. to lower; put or bring down:
He abased his head.
Origin of abase
late Middle English
1470-80; a-5 + base2; replacing late Middle English abassen, equivalent to a-5 + bas base2; replacing Middle English abaissen, abe(i)sen < Anglo-French abesser, abaisser, Old French abaissier, equivalent + a- a-5 + -baissier < Vulgar Latin *bassiare, verbal derivative of Late Latin bassus; see base2
Related forms
abasement, noun
abaser, noun
unabasing, adjective
1. humiliate, dishonor, defame, belittle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for abase
Historical Examples
  • He saw a way to hurt her, to abase her pride, and cut her to the very soul with shame.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • He was so happy that he wanted to abase himself before some one.

    The Red Hand of Ulster George A. Birmingham
  • But we have a great many who have helped to abase their classes.

  • Each gets what it desires, but the great state must learn to abase itself.

    Tao Teh King Lao-Tze
  • Commander of the faithful, abase not yourself to the meanness of your slave.

    Vathek William Beckford
  • You see, I abase myself, I abase myself of my own free will.

    Short Stories Fiodor Dostoievski
  • We have all so much reason to abase ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes!

    Madonna Mary Mrs. Oliphant
  • They are a little——' And here, not choosing to abase herself, she curtseyed.

    A Tale of Two Tunnels William Clark Russell
  • Whether we exalt ourselves it is for God; whether we abase ourselves it is for you.'

  • Can you behold every one that is proud, and abase him, and bind their faces in secret?

British Dictionary definitions for abase


verb (transitive)
to humble or belittle (oneself, etc)
to lower or reduce, as in rank or estimation
Derived Forms
abasement, noun
Word Origin
C15: abessen, from Old French abaissier to make low. See base²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abase

late 14c., abaishen, from Old French abaissier "diminish, make lower in value or status" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *ad bassiare "bring lower," from Late Latin bassus "thick, fat, low;" from the same source as base (adj.) and altered 16c. in English by influence of it, which made it an exception to the rule that Old French verbs with stem -iss- enter English as -ish. Related: Abased; abasing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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