Definition of abase in English:



[with object]usually abase oneself
  • Behave in a way that belittles or degrades (someone)

    ‘I watched my colleagues abasing themselves before the board of trustees’
    • ‘Generally, those of the lower orders abased themselves through prostration in front of those who outranked them.’
    • ‘Come fall, the rich and the powerful abase themselves for a seat in the owner's box.’
    • ‘When Fosca abases herself in front of the hero crying, ‘one loves a dog, an animal ‘she is both using emotional blackmail and exposing her raw passion.’’
    • ‘She recently remarked that the adoption of foreign accents ‘for jobs in call centres shows how easily an ancient civilisation can be made to abase itself completely’.’
    • ‘I abased myself in such a way that it makes me cringe to even remember it.’
    • ‘Their president abased himself with ritual abject apologies.’
    • ‘Thus he enters the dining room ready to abase himself because he disdains everyone else.’
    • ‘Some protest that this affirmation comes at a cost: you cannot receive it unless you first abase yourself as a hopeless and helpless sinner in need of redemption.’
    • ‘No, Cyril, you need not kneel and abase yourself.’
    • ‘The more politics abases itself before the values of TV entertainment, the less it represents the real political process.’
    • ‘And please let me, or any other liberal, know if there is anything else we can do to abase ourselves.’
    • ‘Eleven million people took to the streets last weekend to show their solidarity in the face of terror, and two days later voted to abase themselves before it.’
    • ‘How these gestures will be interpreted by the electorate is not clear, but it is clear that they will do anything, even abase themselves in public, to gain power.’
    • ‘It's an icky daddy-daughter comedy featuring character actors abasing themselves horribly for the money.’
    • ‘Countless bank executives have abased themselves at her feet.’
    • ‘One begins to wonder perversely whether the artist will soon utterly abase herself before our eyes.’
    • ‘How easily an ancient civilization can be made to abase itself completely.’
    • ‘But my brother abased himself intellectually the same way they all did.’
    • ‘Heand his lawyers will need to seriously abase themselves before the Committee if he's going to escape a similar fate.’
    • ‘They find a secret delight in abasing themselves before men of violence.’
    humble, humiliate, belittle, demean, lower, degrade, disgrace, disparage, debase, cheapen, discredit, mortify, bring low, demote, reduce
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French abaissier, from a- (from Latin ad ‘to, at’) + baissier ‘to lower’, based on late Latin bassus ‘short of stature’. The spelling has been influenced by base.