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Indignity vs. Humiliation: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
Indignity refers to treatment or circumstances that cause one to feel disrespected or dishonored, while humiliation refers to a strong feeling of shame or embarrassment, often due to indignity or degraded status.

Key Differences

Indignity primarily revolves around the concept of being treated in a way that is degrading or disrespects one's worth or dignity. For example, being disregarded in a meeting could be considered an indignity. It focuses on the external actions or conditions that cause one to feel dishonored.
Contrastingly, humiliation is more about the emotional or psychological state that often results from experiences of indignity. It emphasizes the feeling of shame, embarrassment, or lowered self-esteem. For instance, the humiliation one might feel after being publicly insulted is more inward and emotional.
From a grammatical standpoint, both words can function as nouns but their usage in sentences differs. "Indignity" often comes attached with the preposition "to," as in "indignity to human life." On the other hand, "humiliation" pairs more frequently with "of," as in "the humiliation of defeat."
Both terms often appear in social, psychological, and sometimes legal contexts. Indignity could be applied to situations involving social injustice, while humiliation could be examined in psychological analyses regarding emotional trauma or stress.

Comparison Chart


On external treatment or conditions
On internal emotional state

Grammatical Use

Usually followed by "to"
Often followed by "of"


Social, sometimes legal
Social, psychological

Emotional Weight

Generally less emotionally intense
More emotionally intense due to shame or embarrassment

Sentence Example

"He suffered the indignity of being ignored."
"She felt deep humiliation after the insult."

Indignity and Humiliation Definitions


A loss of dignity or honor
He endured the indignity of demotion.


A feeling of shame or embarrassment
His humiliation was palpable.


An instance of disrespectful treatment
Ignoring her was a clear indignity.


A state of being humbled
The team faced humiliation after the loss.


A form of social injustice
Pay inequality is an indignity.


A psychological state of distress
The humiliation affected his mental health.


A situation causing disgrace
Living in squalor is an indignity.


A lowering of pride or self-worth
Public mockery led to her humiliation.


An offense to personal self-respect
Being yelled at was an indignity.


The act of humiliating; degradation.


Humiliating, degrading, or abusive treatment.


The state of being humiliated or disgraced; shame.


A source of offense, as to a person's pride or sense of dignity; an affront.


A humiliating condition or circumstance.


(Obsolete) Lack of dignity or honor.


The act of humiliating or humbling someone; abasement of pride; mortification.


Degradation, debasement or humiliation


The state of being humiliated, humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission.


An affront to one's dignity or pride


The act of humiliating or humbling; abasement of pride; mortification.


Any action toward another which manifests contempt for him; an offense against personal dignity; unmerited contemptuous treatment; contumely; incivility or injury, accompanied with insult.
How might a prince of my great hopes forgetSo great indignities you laid upon me?
A person of so great place and worth constrained to endure so foul indignities.


The state of being humiliated, humbled, or reduced to lowliness or submission.
The former was a humiliation of Deity; the latter a humiliation of manhood.


An affront to one's dignity or self-esteem


State of disgrace or loss of self-respect


Strong feelings of embarrassment


An instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect;
He had to undergo one humiliation after another


Depriving one of self-esteem


An act that degrades or shames
Public shaming was pure humiliation.


Can you use 'indignity' in legal terms?

Yes, it can appear in legal contexts to describe inhumane treatment.

Can humiliation lead to psychological issues?

Yes, chronic humiliation can contribute to emotional or psychological problems.

Is indignity always intentional?

No, indignities can be either intentional or unintentional.

Does humiliation involve shame?

Generally, humiliation involves feelings of shame or embarrassment.

Is humiliation an emotion?

Yes, humiliation is primarily an emotional state.

What is the opposite of humiliation?

The opposite could be dignity or honor.

Is humiliation always public?

No, humiliation can be either public or private.

Can indignity be a social issue?

Yes, indignities can arise from social inequalities or injustices.

Is indignity stronger than humiliation?

Not necessarily; humiliation often carries more emotional weight.

Can one experience indignity without feeling humiliated?

Yes, it's possible to experience indignity without internalizing it as humiliation.

Can you self-induce humiliation?

Yes, humiliation can be self-induced through internalized feelings.

Does indignity always involve other people?

Mostly, but one can also experience indignity from situational circumstances.

Can indignity be used as a verb?

No, indignity is primarily used as a noun.

Can animals experience indignity or humiliation?

While they can be subjected to what humans might consider indignities, it's unclear if they feel humiliation.

Can humiliation be private?

Yes, one can feel humiliation even if no one else is aware of the cause.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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