Ask Difference

Elevate vs. Humiliate — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 21, 2024
Elevate means to raise or lift up, enhancing status or dignity, while humiliate means to lower someone's dignity or pride, causing shame or embarrassment.
Elevate vs. Humiliate — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Elevate and Humiliate


Key Differences

Elevate refers to raising something or someone to a higher level or position, often in terms of status, importance, or physical height. For example, promoting an employee for their hard work is a way to elevate them in the organization. Humiliate, on the other hand, means to cause someone to feel ashamed or foolish by injuring their dignity and pride. This often involves public embarrassment or making someone feel inferior. For instance, mocking someone in front of others can humiliate them.
In social contexts, elevating someone involves recognizing and enhancing their achievements or status. Elevation can be through praise, promotion, or acknowledgment, such as giving a speech that highlights someone's accomplishments. Humiliation, conversely, is an act that undermines a person's self-esteem and respect. It can occur through insults, criticism, or public shaming, where the intention is often to demean or degrade the individual.
While elevate has positive connotations associated with improvement and upliftment, humiliate has negative connotations linked to degradation and embarrassment. Both terms relate to changes in status but in opposite directions—one uplifting and the other diminishing.

Comparison Chart


Raise to a higher level or position
Lower someone's dignity or pride

Social Impact

Enhances status or importance
Causes shame or embarrassment



Example Context

Promoting an employee
Mocking someone publicly

Emotional Effect

Uplifting and encouraging
Demeaning and hurtful

Compare with Definitions


To improve or enhance.
Reading books can elevate your understanding of the world.


To demean or degrade.
The bullies humiliated their victim by mocking his clothes.


To raise to a higher position.
The coach's praise helped elevate the team's morale.


To cause someone to feel ashamed or foolish.
The teacher's harsh words humiliated the student in front of the class.


To lift physically or metaphorically.
They used a crane to elevate the heavy equipment.


To embarrass deeply.
Her mistake was pointed out in a way that humiliated her.


To make higher in height.
The platform was elevated to give a better view.


To lower the dignity or pride of.
Being fired publicly humiliated him.


Raise or lift (something) to a higher position
The exercise will naturally elevate your chest and head


To make someone feel inferior.
Losing the game so badly humiliated the team.


Raise to a more important or impressive level
He has elevated bad taste into an art form
He was elevated to Secretary of State


To cause (someone) to feel a loss of pride, dignity, or self-respect
Humiliated him with a contemptuous refusal.


To move (something) to a higher place or position from a lower one; lift.


(transitive) To cause to be ashamed; to injure the dignity and self-respect of.


To increase the amount or intensity of
Factors that elevate blood pressure.


(transitive) To make humble; to lower in condition or status.


To promote to a higher rank.


To reduce to a lower position in one's own eyes, or in the eyes of others; to cause a loss of pride or dignity; to humble; to mortify.
We stand humiliated rather than encouraged.


To raise to a higher moral, cultural, or intellectual level
Elevate the tone of the debate.


Cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of;
He humiliated his colleague by criticising him in front of the boss


To lift the spirits of; elate.


(Baseball) To throw a high pitch, usually a fastball, after a series of lower pitches, especially in an attempt to get a strikeout.


(transitive) To raise (something) to a higher position.
The doctor told me elevating my legs would help reduce the swelling.


(transitive) To promote (someone) to a higher rank.


(transitive) To confer honor or nobility on (someone).
The traditional worldview elevates man as the pinnacle of creation.


(transitive) To make (something or someone) more worthy or of greater value.
A talented chef can elevate everyday ingredients into gourmet delights.


(transitive) To direct (the mind, thoughts, etc.) toward more worthy things.


(transitive) To increase the intensity or degree of (something).
Some drugs have the side effect of elevating your blood sugar level.


(dated) To increase the loudness of (a sound, especially one's voice).


To lift the spirits of (someone)


To intoxicate in a slight degree; to make (someone) tipsy.


To attempt to make (something) seem less important, remarkable, etc.


(obsolete) Elevated; raised aloft.


Elevated; raised aloft.


To bring from a lower place to a higher; to lift up; to raise; as, to elevate a weight, a flagstaff, etc.


To raise to a higher station; to promote; as, to elevate to an office, or to a high social position.


To raise from a depressed state; to animate; to cheer; as, to elevate the spirits.


To exalt; to ennoble; to dignify; as, to elevate the mind or character.


To raise to a higher pitch, or to a greater degree of loudness; - said of sounds; as, to elevate the voice.


To intoxicate in a slight degree; to render tipsy.


To lessen; to detract from; to disparage.


Give a promotion to or assign to a higher position;
John was kicked upstairs when a replacement was hired
Women tend not to advance in the major law firms
I got promoted after many years of hard work


Raise from a lower to a higher position;
Raise your hands
Lift a load


Raise in rank or condition;
The new law lifted many people from poverty


To raise in rank or status.
She was elevated to the position of CEO after years of hard work.

Common Curiosities

How can you use elevate in a sentence?

E.g., His inspiring speech elevated the spirits of the entire team.

What does elevate mean?

Elevate means to raise to a higher level, position, or status.

What does humiliate mean?

Humiliate means to cause someone to feel ashamed or embarrassed by lowering their dignity or pride.

Can you give an example of humiliate in a sentence?

E.g., The unkind remarks from his peers humiliated him.

Can elevate refer to physical lifting?

Yes, elevate can refer to physically raising something, like elevating a platform.

How can elevate be used in a professional context?

E.g., The new project manager was elevated to the role due to her exceptional skills.

What is a situation where someone might feel humiliated?

E.g., Being laughed at for a mistake in front of an audience can be humiliating.

Is there a way to recover from humiliation?

Yes, building self-confidence and seeking support can help recover from humiliation.

Can elevate be used in a metaphorical sense?

Yes, it can describe improving non-physical aspects, like elevating one's mood.

Can humiliation have long-term effects?

Yes, humiliation can cause long-term emotional and psychological harm.

How can one elevate their own status?

E.g., By acquiring new skills and demonstrating leadership, one can elevate their professional status.

How does public humiliation affect a person?

Public humiliation can severely impact a person’s self-esteem and social standing.

Is humiliate always negative?

Yes, humiliate carries negative connotations of embarrassment and degradation.

Is elevate always positive?

Generally, yes, elevate has positive connotations of improvement and upliftment.

What are synonyms for humiliate?

Embarrass, degrade, shame, demean, and mortify.

What are synonyms for elevate?

Raise, uplift, promote, enhance, and improve.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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