follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

demeaning

[dih-mee-ning] /dɪˈmi nɪŋ/
adjective
1.
that demeans; debasing; degrading:
Being forced to apologize when I had done nothing wrong was a demeaning task.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; demean1 + -ing2

demean1

[dih-meen] /dɪˈmin/
verb (used with object)
1.
to lower in dignity, honor, or standing; debase:
He demeaned himself by accepting the bribe.
Origin
1595-1605; de- + mean2, modeled on debase
Synonyms
degrade, humble, humiliate, mortify.
Antonyms
dignify, honor.

demean2

[dih-meen] /dɪˈmin/
verb (used with object)
1.
to conduct or behave (oneself) in a specified manner.
noun
2.
Archaic. demeanor.
Origin
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for demeaning
  • Poorly written books insult children by demeaning their capacity to learn.
  • That sounded a little demeaning upon reading.
  • Even the term chick lit has created a backlash, with some practitioners believing the term is demeaning and limiting.
  • Hey, it's show business, it's supposed to be demeaning.
  • She is seeking support for a federal law that would ban demeaning and mean-spirited comments on memorial sites.
  • The word Gringo can be used as demeaning adjective, friendly nickname, or simply mean "caucasian".
  • Concentrate on esteem-building humor, not quips that are self-degrading or demeaning to others.
  • It is so much easier to refute a logical proposition by demeaning the source.
  • Giving F's is demeaning to students and prevents them from succeeding in life.
  • They publicly libeled her with demeaning and repulsive accusations.
British Dictionary definitions for demeaning

demean1

/dɪˈmiːn/
verb
1.
(transitive) to lower (oneself) in dignity, status, or character; humble; debase
Word Origin
C17: see de-, mean²; on the model of debase

demean2

/dɪˈmiːn/
verb
1.
(transitive) (rare) to behave or conduct (oneself) in a specified way
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for demeaning
demean
"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.
demeaning
1880, pp. adj. from demean.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for demeaning

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for demeaning

13
17
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with demeaning