To demean someone is to insult them. To demean is to degrade or put down a person or thing.

If you noticed the word mean in demean, that's a good clue to its meaning. To demean someone is very mean. You are demeaning your sister or brother if you run their underwear up a flagpole. A teacher could demean a student by saying "You're stupid!" To demean is to insult: no one wants to be demeaned. Insulting language is often called demeaning. We can also say a bad president demeaned his office.

Definitions of demean

v reduce in worth or character, usually verbally

degrade, disgrace, put down, take down
lower in grade or rank or force somebody into an undignified situation
dehumanise, dehumanize
deprive of human qualities
Type of:
abase, chagrin, humble, humiliate, mortify
cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of

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