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 With these emphatic victories, the BJP not only crushed and humiliated the Congress but also secured the legislative dominance of the party. Ramachandra Guha, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 During a slump is no time to publicly humiliate them. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 24 Jan. 2024 Trump may have decided to run for president after Barack Obama humiliated him with a joke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. Brian Klaas, The Atlantic, 16 Jan. 2024 McAfee may not have technically violated any of ESPN's policies but his enabling of Rodgers has humiliated the network. Mike Freeman, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2024 There is mourning to be done publicly about the collapse of free media, and then a more private, humiliating one for journalists and writers everywhere who will simply never get another staff job again. Hazlitt, 7 Feb. 2024 By humiliating the League of Nations and showing that aggression could pay, Italy’s assault on Ethiopia in 1935 paved the way for Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 26 Jan. 2024 Yogi Adityanath, a BJP ally, said Hinduism had been humiliated for centuries and the temple represented the revival of India’s national identity. Anant Gupta, Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2024 Hamas deeply hurt Israel, which many Palestinians, humiliated by decades of occupation, regard with glee. Daniel Byman, Foreign Affairs, 21 Dec. 2023 See More

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 4 Mar. 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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