• Demean


    • UK IPA: /dɪˈmiːn/
    • Rhymes: -iːn

    Origin 1

    (1595) From - + mean "lowly, base" from Middle English mene, aphetic variation of imene ("mean, base, common"), from Old English ġemǣne ("mean, common").

    Full definition of demean


    1. To debase; to lower; to degrade.
      • ThackerayHer son would demean himself by a marriage with an artist's daughter.
    2. To humble, humble oneself; to humiliate.
    3. To mortify.

    Origin 2

    Middle English demenen, demeinen, from Anglo-Norman demener, from Old French demener, from de- + mener ("to conduct, lead"), from Vulgar Latin *mināre ("to drive") and Latin minārī ("to threaten").


    1. To manage; to conduct; to treat.
      • MiltonOur clergy have with violence demeaned the matter.
    2. To conduct; to behave; to comport; followed by the reflexive pronoun.
      • ShakespeareThey have demeaned themselves
        Like men born to renown by life or death.
      • ClarendonThey answered ... that they should demean themselves according to their instructions.



    (usually uncountable; plural demeans or )
    1. (archaic) Management; treatment.
      • Spenservile demean and usage bad
    2. (archaic) Behavior; conduct; bearing; demeanor.
      • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.5:‘When thou hast all this doen, then bring me newes
        Of his demeane .’
      • Westwith grave demean and solemn vanity

    Related terms

    Origin 3

    Var. of demesne.



    (plural demeans)
    1. demesne.
    2. resources; means.
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