abject

as in humble
showing, expressing, or offered in a spirit of humility or unseemly submissiveness demanded nothing less than an abject apology from them

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How does the adjective abject differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of abject are ignoble, mean, and sordid. While all these words mean "being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity," abject may imply degradation, debasement, or servility.

abject poverty

When might ignoble be a better fit than abject?

In some situations, the words ignoble and abject are roughly equivalent. However, ignoble suggests a loss or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit.

an ignoble scramble after material possessions

When is it sensible to use mean instead of abject?

While in some cases nearly identical to abject, mean suggests small-mindedness, ill temper, or cupidity.

mean and petty satire

When would sordid be a good substitute for abject?

Although the words sordid and abject have much in common, sordid is stronger than all of these in stressing physical or spiritual degradation and abjectness.

a sordid story of murder and revenge

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Cite this Entry

“Abject.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/abject. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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