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verb (used with object), a·based, a·bas·ing.
  1. to reduce or lower, as in rank, office, reputation, or estimation; humble; degrade.
  2. Archaic. to lower; put or bring down: He abased his head.
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Origin of abase

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 formsa·base·ment, nouna·bas·er, nounun·a·bas·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

lower, disgrace, dishonor, belittle, humble, reduce, diminish, shame, demean, degrade, mortify, debase, humiliate

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.

  • Commander of the faithful, abase not yourself to the meanness of your slave.


    William Beckford

British Dictionary definitions for abase


verb (tr)
  1. to humble or belittle (oneself, etc)
  2. to lower or reduce, as in rank or estimation
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Derived Formsabasement, noun

Word Origin

C15: abessen, from Old French abaissier to make low. See base ²
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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper