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1. The act of humiliating; degradation.
2. The state of being humiliated or disgraced; shame.
3. A humiliating condition or circumstance.


(hyuˌmɪl iˈeɪ ʃən; often yu-)

1. an act or instance of humiliating or being humiliated.
2. the state or feeling of being humiliated.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin]
syn: See shame.



cut [someone’s] comb To humiliate or humble; to degrade, to take down a peg or two. This expression, which dates from the mid-1500s, is said to allude to the supposed practice of cutting the fleshy red combs of roosters in order to humble their pride.

eat crow To be forced to do or say something distasteful and humiliating; to eat one’s words or eat humble pie; to be compelled to confess wrongdoing or to back down. This colloquial expression of American origin and its variant eat boiled crow were used as early as the mid-19th century. The most popular story explaining this expression tells of an American soldier in the War of 1812 who killed a crow for sport. Its owner reacted by forcing him to eat the dead crow at gunpoint. After a few bites, the soldier was released, whereupon he turned his gun on his foe and forced him to eat the remaining portion. Later, the soldier’s only comment was that he and the other party had “dined” together. Today, eat crow continues to be a popular picturesque expression.

eat humble pie To come down off one’s high horse, swallow one’s pride, and submit to mortification and humiliation; to be forced to apologize and defer to others; to eat crow, to eat dirt, or to eat one’s words. In this expression, humble derives from the obsolete umbles ‘heart, liver, and entrails of the deer.’ Apparently these parts were considered leftovers suitable only for the huntsman and other servants. When the lord and his company feasted on venison, the others ate the umbles that had been made into a pie. Thus, “umble pie” was suggestive of poverty and lowly status. Since humble also connotes lowliness and subservience, the simple fact of confusion gave rise to eat humble pie, used as early as the beginning of the 19th century.

eat one’s words See RECANTATION.

go to Canossa To humble one-self, to submit one-self to humiliation. In January of 1077, Pope Gregory VII stayed for a time at the castle of Canossa in Italy on his way to Germany to take action against the excommunicated Henry IV, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. To forestall this event, Henry IV made the pilgrimage to Canossa where he was kept waiting outside, exposed to the harshness of the elements, for three days before receiving absolution from the Pope. This example of secular submission to Church authority gave rise to the expression in question, now used in the general sense of submitting one-self to humiliation.

put [someone’s] nose out of joint To arouse someone’s anger or resentment by replacing him in the affection or esteem of another; to humiliate, to spoil or upset someone’s plans, to thwart.

The King is pleased enough with her: which, I fear, will put Madam Castlemaine’s nose out of joint. (Samuel Pepys, Diary, 1662)

It is easy to see how the literal out of joint ‘dislocated, out of place’ gave rise to the figurative ‘supplanted, superseded.’

rub [someone’s] nose in it To persistently humiliate a person by reminding him of a fault or error. This expression may have derived from the canine housebreaking technique of placing the pet’s nose close to its mistake in hope of discouraging future indoor accidents. As used today, the expression implies unmerciful harping and castigation over a relatively minor mishap.

I’m sorry. I’ve said I’m sorry. Don’t rub my nose in it. (P. M. Hubbart, Flush as May, 1963)

take down a peg To humble, to lower someone in his own or another’s estimation; to snub or put down. In print since the 16th century, this expression is said to derive from the raising or lowering of a ship’s colors, or flag, by pegs, to mark the importance of an occasion—the higher the colors, the greater the honor, and vice versa. Another theory is that peg originally referred to the notches inside a cup to indicate each person’s share. To take someone down a peg meant to drink his share. Today take down a notch is a common variant.

I must take that proud girl down a peg. (Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Marceña, 1894)

with egg on one’s face Embarrassed or humiliated by some mistake; in the wrong, guilty. The origin of this expression is unknown. It may have derived from an audience’s practice of throwing rotten eggs at actors during an especially poor performance. Another possible derivation is of a more agrarian nature. Weasels, foxes, and other such animals are known for their habit of sneaking into henhouses at night to suck eggs. To come out with egg on their faces would display to all the evidence of their wrongdoing.

with one’s tail between one’s legs Ashamed, humiliated, disgraced, embarrassed; cowed, dejected, beaten; afraid, scared.

We shall have you back here very soon … with your tail between your legs. (William E. Norris, Thirlby Hall, 1884)

A dog, disgraced by having lost the scent on a hunt or embarrassed at being caught doing something forbidden, returns to its master with its tail hanging between its legs instead of triumphantly wagging on high.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.humiliation - state of disgrace or loss of self-respecthumiliation - state of disgrace or loss of self-respect
disgrace, ignominy, shame - a state of dishonor; "one mistake brought shame to all his family"; "suffered the ignominy of being sent to prison"
abasement, abjection, degradation - a low or downcast state; "each confession brought her into an attitude of abasement"- H.L.Menchken
2.humiliation - strong feelings of embarrassmenthumiliation - strong feelings of embarrassment  
embarrassment - the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public
3.humiliation - an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect; "he had to undergo one humiliation after another"
case, instance, example - an occurrence of something; "it was a case of bad judgment"; "another instance occurred yesterday"; "but there is always the famous example of the Smiths"
4.humiliation - depriving one of self-esteemhumiliation - depriving one of self-esteem  
degradation, debasement - changing to a lower state (a less respected state)
comedown - decline to a lower status or level


noun embarrassment, shame, disgrace, humbling, put-down, degradation, affront, indignity, chagrin, ignominy, dishonour, mortification, loss of face, abasement, self-abasement She faced the humiliation of discussing her husband's affair.


1. A lowering in or deprivation of character or self-esteem:
2. Loss of or damage to one's reputation:
إذْلال، تَحْقير
aşağılamaküçük düşürme


[hjuːmɪlɪˈeɪʃən] Nhumillación f


[hjuːˌmɪliˈeɪʃən] nhumiliation f


nDemütigung f, → Erniedrigung f; (because of one’s own actions) → Beschämung f no pl; much to my humiliationsehr zu meiner Schande or Beschämung; she couldn’t hide her humiliationsie konnte das Gefühl der Demütigung/Beschämung nicht verbergen; the result is a humiliation for the prime ministerdas Ergebnis ist eine demütigende Niederlage für den Premierminister


[hjuːˌmɪlɪˈeɪʃn] numiliazione f


(hjuˈmilieit) verb
to make (someone) feel ashamed. He was humiliated to find that his girlfriend could run faster than he could.
huˈmiliating adjective
huˌmiliˈation noun
References in classic literature ?
He hated himself and he hated the fate that had brought about his humiliation.
Next morning early, leaving Queequeg shut up with Yojo in our little bedroom --for it seemed that it was some sort of Lent or Ramadan, or day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer with Queequeg and Yojo that day; how it was I never could find out, for, though I applied myself to it several times, I never could master his liturgies and XXXIX Articles --leaving Queequeg, then, fasting on his tomahawk pipe, and Yojo warming himself at his sacrificial fire of shavings, I sallied out among the shipping.
How, for instance, could any one expect to excite sympathy among lovers of good literature by telling how a family found their home alive with vermin, and of all the suffering and inconvenience and humiliation they were put to, and the hard-earned money they spent, in efforts to get rid of them?
She picked very fast and very clean, and with an air of scorn, as if she despised both the work and the disgrace and humiliation of the circumstances in which she was placed.
The abbot was helpless with rage and humiliation when I brought him out on a balcony and showed him the head of the state marching in and never a monk on hand to offer him welcome, and no stir of life or clang of joy-bell to glad his spirit.
I felt something of the same sense of humiliation and injury which one feels when he finds that a human stranger has been clandestinely inspecting him in his privacy and mentally commenting upon him.
Luigi's southern blood leaped to the boiling point in a moment under the sharp humiliation of this insult delivered in the presence of four hundred strangers.
His exaltation had but one alloy -- the memory of his humiliation in this angel's garden -- and that record in sand was fast washing out, under the waves of happiness that were sweeping over it now.
Every part of it brought pain and humiliation, of some sort or other; but, compared with the evil to Harriet, all was light; and she would gladly have submitted to feel yet more mistaken more in errormore disgraced by misjudgment, than she actually was, could the effects of her blunders have been confined to herself.
My habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire.
On opening the little door, two hairy monsters flew at my throat, bearing me down, and extinguishing the light; while a mingled guffaw from Heathcliff and Hareton put the copestone on my rage and humiliation.
Mary did not even try to control her rage and humiliation.