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 He's humiliated by his brother in the brothel during Episode 3. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 8 July 2024 Efforts to humble and humiliate Musk are flashed across the screen as former Black employees at Twitter in one-on-one interviews discuss the destruction of their years of labor and hard work to diversify the platform. Taylor Crumpton, TIME, 10 May 2024 This will teach them an important lesson, rather than humiliate them or break them down. Sarah Vanbuskirk, Parents, 26 June 2024 The central, quasi-Shakespearean intrigue — which revolves around Katherine’s potential exposure as a co-conspirator of Askew — is also handled adroitly, even if many of the scenes simply feature Henry’s gratuitously cruel efforts to humiliate Katherine. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 14 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for humiliate 

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 22 Jul. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on humiliate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!