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demean (verb) lower one's own dignity; degrade.
When you demean yourself, you do things which lessen others' respect for you. Suppose you accept a job for which you think you are overqualified, you demean yourself. By exchanging words or blows in public with one of a lower status than you, you demean yourself. To do something which lowers others' esteem or status is to demean them. The pictures of nude women in yellow journals, and in adult sites, demean them, as do showing them in sexy postures in movies. That is, such things make people lose their respect for women. The way police are shown as corrupt and incompetent in movies demeans them. That is, their portrayal lessens people's respect for them.
- Being a doctorate, Phil felt he could not demean himself to accept the job of a school teacher, as he thought that it was too low a job for him.
- The way bosses are portrayed in some of the movies demeans the bosses. It gives the impression that all bosses are inhumanly bossy and incompetent.