• synonyms


See more synonyms for demeaning on Thesaurus.com
  1. that demeans; debasing; degrading: Being forced to apologize when I had done nothing wrong was a demeaning task.
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Origin of demeaning

First recorded in 1875–80; demean1 + -ing2


verb (used with object)
  1. to lower in dignity, honor, or standing; debase: He demeaned himself by accepting the bribe.
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Origin of demean1

1595–1605; de- + mean2, modeled on debase


See more synonyms for demean on Thesaurus.com
degrade, humble, humiliate, mortify.


dignify, honor.


verb (used with object)
  1. to conduct or behave (oneself) in a specified manner.
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  1. Archaic. demeanor.
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Origin of demean2

1250–1300; Middle English deme(i)nen < Anglo-French, Old French demener, equivalent to de- de- + mener to lead, conduct < Latin mināre to drive, minārī to threaten
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demeaning

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Just who the hell do you think you are—demeaning the dignity of the United States Senate?

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

  • In this demeaning paradigm, "touch is a gift from one who is whole to one who is not" (p. 68).

  • I will not have you demeaning yourself, even in speech, before Cecile's friend.

    Two Knapsacks

    John Campbell

  • But I get some fun trying to do things I never did before, while Mammy scolds me for demeaning myself.

    Dixie After the War

    Myrta Lockett Avary

  • But a Creole or Spaniard would think it demeaning to drive his own volante; the thing is never seen on the island.

British Dictionary definitions for demeaning


  1. (tr) to lower (oneself) in dignity, status, or character; humble; debase
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Word Origin

C17: see de-, mean ²; on the model of debase


  1. (tr) rare to behave or conduct (oneself) in a specified way
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French demener, from de- + mener to lead, drive, from Latin mināre to drive (animals), from minārī to use threats
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 demeaning


1829, present participle adjective from demean (v.). Related: Demeaningly.

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"lower in dignity," c.1600, perhaps from de- "down" + mean (adj.) and modeled on debase. Indistinguishable in some uses from obsolete demean (see demeanor) which influenced it and may be its true source. Related: Demeaned; demeaning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper