Humiliation describes a strong feeling of embarrassment or mortification — like that time in sixth grade when your mother wiped your face and called you "honey bunny" in front of all your friends.

Humiliation comes from the Latin word humiliare, which means "to humble." So if you are caught in a situation that causes humiliation, you are humbled — with a loss of self-esteem and self-respect. If you become a politician, for example, and you campaign on a platform of family values, don't get caught cheating on your spouse; the public humiliation may be enough to drive you out of politics.

Definitions of humiliation

n depriving one of self-esteem

decline to a lower status or level
Type of:
debasement, degradation
changing to a lower state (a less respected state)

n state of disgrace or loss of self-respect

abasement, abjection, degradation
a low or downcast state
decadence, decadency, degeneracy, degeneration
the state of being degenerate in mental or moral qualities
(usually plural) a low moral state
Type of:
disgrace, ignominy, shame
a state of dishonor

n strong feelings of embarrassment

chagrin, mortification
Type of:
the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public

n an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect

“he had to undergo one humiliation after another”
Type of:
case, example, instance
an occurrence of something

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