Definition of abase in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈbeɪs/


[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
More example sentences
  • They find a secret delight in abasing themselves before men of violence.
  • It's an icky daddy-daughter comedy featuring character actors abasing themselves horribly for the money.
  • The more politics abases itself before the values of TV entertainment, the less it represents the real political process.
humble, humiliate, belittle, demean, lower, degrade, disgrace, disparage, debase, cheapen, discredit, mortify, bring low, demote, reduce;
grovel, kowtow, bow and scrape, toady, fawn
informal crawl, suck up to someone, lick someone's boots


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 base2.

  • base from Middle English:

    There are two different words spelled as ‘base’ in English. The old-fashioned one meaning ‘low, ignoble’ comes from Latin bassus ‘short’, also the source of to abase (Late Middle English). The low musical bass (Late Middle English) and the bassoon (early 18th century) come from the same source. The other base comes, along with basis (late 16th century) and basic (mid 19th century), via Latin from Greek basis, which meant ‘step’ and ‘pedestal’. Its first English meaning was ‘the pedestal of a statue’. Basement (mid 18th century) probably comes via archaic Dutch basement ‘foundation’, from Italian basamento ‘base of a column’, from basis.

    Although baseball is primarily an American game the earliest recorded use of the word is actually from Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey: ‘It was not very wonderful that Catherine…should prefer cricket, base ball…to books.’ Phrases drawn from the US game are familiar elsewhere. A notable example is to touch base, ‘to briefly make or renew contact with something or somebody’. Other phrases using base include to get to first base, ‘to achieve the first step towards your objective’, and off base, ‘mistaken’, though these are still primarily American. See also bat

Words that rhyme with abase

ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, brace, case, chase, dace, efface, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, grace, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, lace, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, place, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: abase

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