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’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Thus he enters the dining room ready to abase himself because he disdains everyone else.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One begins to wonder perversely whether the artist will soon utterly abase herself before our eyes.’
    • ‘Countless bank executives have abased themselves at her feet.’
    • ‘Their president abased himself with ritual abject apologies.’
    • ‘No, Cyril, you need not kneel and abase yourself.’
    • ‘How easily an ancient civilization can be made to abase itself completely.’
    • ‘It's an icky daddy-daughter comedy featuring character actors abasing themselves horribly for the money.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘The more politics abases itself before the values of TV entertainment, the less it represents the real political process.’
    • ‘I abased myself in such a way that it makes me cringe to even remember it.’
    • ‘Generally, those of the lower orders abased themselves through prostration in front of those who outranked them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Come fall, the rich and the powerful abase themselves for a seat in the owner's box.’
    • ‘They find a secret delight in abasing themselves before men of violence.’
    • ‘And please let me, or any other liberal, know if there is anything else we can do to abase ourselves.’
    humble, humiliate, belittle, demean, lower, degrade, disgrace, disparage, debase, cheapen, discredit, mortify, bring low, demote, reduce
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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.