Main definitions of demean in English

: demean1demean2

demean1

verb

[with object]
  • 1Cause a severe loss in the dignity of and respect for (someone or something)

    ‘I had demeaned the profession’
    • ‘Women were humiliated and brutalised as part of a campaign to demean their ethnicity.’
    • ‘There are ways and means of showing respect without such references, which only demean the person who makes use of the term.’
    • ‘It demeans the people who do this work by telling them that their work is not important - that it is low-grade and demeaning.’
    • ‘But when they demean a work of beauty and dignity that has shaped English history and literature as no other book, they invite retribution.’
    • ‘While comparing products, they were not allowed to degrade or demean the merchandise offered by competitors.’
    • ‘We demean the concept of safety and undermine the teaching profession when responsibility is only advocated in one direction.’
    • ‘But you abused, debased and threatened that woman, threatening her and demeaning her.’
    • ‘The editor rejects as ‘drivel’ any suggestion that his paper may be demeaning women.’
    • ‘Litter-strewn streets, graffiti and derelict buildings demean residents' quality of life and devalue the visitor experience.’
    • ‘But it not only demeans women, it also demeans the men that buy it, as well as everybody that makes money from it.’
    • ‘I am not in any way demeaning our brave men folk but they do generally get more coverage than us ladies.’
    • ‘In other words, I would say that idolatry not only dishonors God and demeans the idolater; it ultimately leads to the destruction of the hapless idol itself.’
    • ‘Brown condemns, with reason, men demeaning women through the ages by their patriarchal ideology.’
    • ‘Other than demeaning me for napping in the laundry room it was our only conversation.’
    • ‘Don't think I am demeaning his achievement by saying it comes from not getting bored.’
    • ‘To think of students as customers cheapens and demeans post-secondary education.’
    • ‘Singling out people for praise can be difficult as it risks demeaning the achievements of others.’
    • ‘I wish he would stop demeaning the provincial system in his writings.’
    • ‘When children are demeaned and injured rather than respected and nurtured, they do not develop a sense of their own power and an ability to maintain their own boundaries.’
    discredit, lower, lower someone's dignity, lower someone's status, degrade, debase, devalue, demote
    degrading, humiliating, shaming, shameful, bringing shame, mortifying, abject, lowering, ignominious, undignified, inglorious, discrediting
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1demean oneself Do something that is beneath one's dignity.
      ‘good potential MPs would not demean themselves by setting out to acquire popularity’
      • ‘But please let's not demean ourselves by pretending this falls into the great canon of drama.’
      • ‘The main problem is that well educated journalists who want to be thought of as professionals continually demean themselves by accepting these positions at these rates of pay.’
      • ‘You only have to watch reality shows where seemingly intelligent women demean themselves into begging for the nod of Bachelor Joe to realize something has gone seriously wrong.’
      • ‘Too many people, though - many of them female - still seem to think that a woman demeans herself when she wears a revealing dress.’
      • ‘They of course demeaned themselves by demonstrating on the lawn outside the council room like a mob of unlettered students - but that is the way of the unreal world of academia.’
      • ‘Your ridiculous new border controls border on madness, and we refuse to demean ourselves by submitting to your arrogant, petty-minded demands.’
      • ‘Why would world-class athletes demean themselves in such a way?’
      • ‘She came away from the experience wondering why any girl would demean herself to such an extent, regardless of the loot involved.’
      • ‘Perhaps, no human being would want to demean himself by seeking succour along the streets and from strangers.’
      • ‘But there are things that it's been criticised for unfairly, and worse - reactions from audiences and critics that demean themselves and our culture.’
      • ‘With a lack of integrity, they demean themselves and the game.’
      • ‘But that word ‘respectable’ really stands for this presumption: that we, people like us, never commit crimes, never have to demean ourselves on the streets.’
      • ‘She says ambitious celebrities who appear topless or in bikinis in steamy photo shoots are ‘disgusting’ and are demeaning themselves.’
      • ‘They are demeaning themselves and making themselves unsuccessful.’
      • ‘And no caveats either - don't patronise me or demean yourself by trying to justify anything.’
      • ‘I wouldn't demean myself by running a mile, unless I was immediately going to follow it by running another twelve miles at least.’
      • ‘The ministers are accused of demeaning themselves - their male counterparts would never agree to such a photo-shoot.’
      • ‘I would not mind if they only demeaned themselves.’
      • ‘I would rather die than demean myself by serving customers.’
      • ‘Neither demeaning themselves to meet low tastes, nor overbearing in their presentation, they fit in perfectly with their requirement as a typical TV presenter.’
      discredit, lower, lower someone's dignity, lower someone's status, degrade, debase, devalue, demote
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 17th century: from de- ‘away, down’ + the adjective mean, on the pattern of debase.

Pronunciation

demean

/dɪˈmiːn/

Main definitions of demean in English

: demean1demean2

demean2

verb

demean oneself
archaic
  • Conduct oneself in a particular way.

    ‘no man demeaned himself so honourably’

Origin

Middle English (also in the sense ‘manage, control’): from Old French demener ‘to lead’, based on Latin de- ‘away’ + minare ‘drive (animals), drive on with threats’ (from minari ‘threaten’).

Pronunciation

demean

/dɪˈmiːn/