Humiliation (also called stultification) is the abasement of pride; mortification. The state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is thus the process of being made humble. It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery and embarrassment.

Humiliation of the self

Whereas humility can be sought alone as a means to de-emphasise the ego, humiliation must involve other person(s), though not necessarily directly or willingly. Acting to humiliate yourself may be linked to a personal belief (as with mortification of the flesh), or it can be part of erotic humiliation where the belittling activity provides emotional and/or sexual arousal.

Humiliation of others

Humiliation by one person by another (the humiliator) is often used as a way of asserting power over them, and is a common form of oppression, bullying or abuse. However, it can also be consensual, as part of an agreement with a sex partner over erotic humiliation. Whilst in either case, it may posssibly be motivated by sadism, most often it is not. In a non sexual context humiliation may be used as a form of torture or may even, as with bullying, not be a wholly conscious aim and may be seen(erroneously) by the humiliator as justifiable behaviour under the circumstances. Many punishments are deliberately designed to be humiliating, e.g. tarring and feathering, pillory, mark of infamy (stigma) as a means of "making an example" of a persona and presenting a deterrent to others.

Humiliation in sport

Humiliation in sport can be regarded as defeat by a large margin - unless the opposing team has so much better circumstances that such a defeat is seen as unavoidable, such as a national team of a very small country losing against a much larger country.In particular a defeat suffered without some believable effort to prevent it, a defeat suffered by simply refusing to fight back, can cause complete loss of face or dignity by a person or team. Can also be defined as a "favorite" losing to a much less talented "underdog" team.

ee also

* Bullying
* Degradation
* Dehumanization
* Embarrassment
* Schadenfreude
* Hazing
* Erotic humiliation
* Public humiliation
* Self-abasement
* Social defeat
* Verbal humiliation

External links

* [ Just Fight On! Centre Against Workplace Bullying UK]
* [] (Mobbing resources in Canada)
* [ Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies]
* [ Emotional Competency article on Humiliation]


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  • humiliation — [ ymiljasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • XIVe; lat. ecclés. humiliatio 1 ♦ Action d humilier ou de s humilier. ⇒ abaissement, honte. « la joie de l humiliation d autrui » (Voltaire). Les humiliations de la vie religieuse. ⇒ mortification. 2 ♦ État, sentiment d une …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Humiliation — Hu*mil i*a tion, n. [L. humiliatio: cf. F. humiliation.] 1. The act of humiliating or humbling; abasement of pride; mortification. Bp. Hopkins. [1913 Webster] 2. The state of being humiliated, humbled, or reduced to lowliness or submission. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • humiliation — Humiliation. s. f. v. Action par laquelle on s humilie. Il a receu ses Sacrements dans une profonde humiliation. quand son pere le vit dans une si grande humiliation, il luy pardonna. Il signifie aussi, L Action par laquelle on est humilié &… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • humiliation — late 14c., from L.L. humiliationem (nom. humiliatio) humbling, humiliation, noun of action from pp. stem of humiliare to humble, from humilis humble (see HUMBLE (Cf. humble)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • humiliation — index attaint, contumely, degradation, disgrace, dishonor (shame), embarrassment, ignominy, infamy …   Law dictionary

  • humiliation — [n] embarrassment abasement, affront, chagrin, comedown*, comeuppance, condescension, confusion, degradation, discomfiture, disgrace, dishonor, humbling, ignominy, indignity, loss of face*, mental pain, mortification, put down, resignation, self… …   New thesaurus

  • Humiliation — L humiliation de l Empereur Valérian par Shapur, Roi de Perse par Hans Holbein le Jeune. Une humiliation est un rabaissement de l amour propre, conduisant à une mortification, un état d impuissance ou soumission. L hu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • humiliation — (u mi li a sion ; en vers, de six syllabes) s. f. 1°   Action par laquelle on est humilié ; état d une personne humiliée. Son humiliation ne saurait se décrire. •   La reine aimait tout dans la vie religieuse, jusqu à ses austérités et ses… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • humiliation — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ great, painful ▪ total, utter ▪ further ▪ daily ▪ These people endure daily hu …   Collocations dictionary

  • HUMILIATION — s. f. Action par laquelle on s humilie, on est humilié ; ou État d une personne humiliée, mortifiée. Je n ai pu le voir dans une si grande humiliation sans lui pardonner. Les infirmités humaines sont un grand sujet d humiliation. C est le comble… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

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