hu·​mil·​i·​ate hyü-ˈmi-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce humiliate (audio)
humiliated; humiliating

transitive verb

: to reduce (someone) to a lower position in one's own eyes or others' eyes : to make (someone) ashamed or embarrassed : mortify
hoped they wouldn't humiliate themselves in their next game
accused her of humiliating him in public
feel so humiliated
humiliation noun

Examples of humiliate in a Sentence

I hope I don't humiliate myself during the presentation. He accused her of trying to humiliate him in public. She was hurt and deeply humiliated by the lies he told about her.
Recent Examples on the Web The same man who once counseled Europe to avoid humiliating Russia is now giving numerous interviews on why Russia’s unconditional defeat is paramount. Daniel Depetris, The Mercury News, 21 Mar. 2024 In the film’s terrifying climax, Carrie is humiliated at a high school dance when nasty classmate Chris (Nancy Allen) douses her with a bucket of a pig's blood just as she’s crowned prom queen. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 19 Mar. 2024 But while many nationalist users cheered Wu on, others came to Mo’s defense likening the attack to the specter of Mao’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution, when intellectuals and artists were denounced, publicly humiliated and beaten by young Red Guards. Nectar Gan, CNN, 11 Mar. 2024 There’s no love lost for the gig economy as a whole, which seems to exist solely to humiliate folks already below a rock-bottom financial status. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Mar. 2024 The lawsuit said the men took photos of her during the assault, posted them on Snapchat and showed them to other classmates, who humiliated and ridiculed her for years. USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2024 There’s always a chance that a comedian might humiliate you. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 23 Feb. 2024 Being mocked or humiliated about masking by healthcare workers, including phlebotomists and radiology technicians, is traumatic. Judy Stone, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Lazio was humiliated 3-0 by Inter in the semifinals, while Napoli lost 1-0 to the Nerazzurri in the final. Daniella Matar, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'humiliate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin humiliatus, past participle of humiliare, from Latin humilis low — more at humble

First Known Use

circa 1534, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of humiliate was circa 1534

Dictionary Entries Near humiliate

Cite this Entry

“Humiliate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hu·​mil·​i·​ate hyü-ˈmil-ē-ˌāt How to pronounce humiliate (audio)
humiliated; humiliating
: to cause a loss of pride or self-respect : humble
humiliation noun

from Latin humiliatus "made to lose pride or self-respect," from earlier humiliare "to make low or humble," from humilis "low, humble," from humus "earth"

Word Origin
In modern English we sometimes say that a person who has been criticized or humiliated has been put down. We speak as though the person had actually been forced to the ground or made to bow down in front of someone else. The origins of the word humiliate itself also suggest the idea of physically putting someone down to the ground. Humiliate can be be traced back to the Latin humus, meaning "earth, ground." From humus came the Latin adjective humilis, meaning "low, humble," which later gave rise to the verb humiliare, meaning "to make low or humble." The English humiliate derives from Latin humiliare.

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