self-deprecate

WritingAPuppy

Senior Member
canada mandarin
Hi?

A bit of a strange question. This word "self-deprecate", does it have a positive, or negative connotation? I ask this because sometimes people consider humility a virtue, so it's possible that people might consider it to be "good" when someone is being self-deprecating.

Or is it a neutral word? I don't know. Help please?
 
  • Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Its connotation is generally positive. If you are able to laugh at yourself, it suggests that you are self-confident without being too self-impressed.
     
    Last edited:

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Oh yes, I agree with cyberpunk.

    A self-deprecating person is very easy to get along with. A person who is unable to laugh at him/her self is usually just too much work.

    Inflection and the words a person says when he's making fun of himself almost always tells the other person if he's sincere or just trying to look like he means what he's saying.

    It's insincerity that's really the negative part of it all, if it's present.

    AngelEyes
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I see "self-deprecating" as potentially either positive or negative.

    Self-deprecating humour, which I think is largely what AngelEyes and Cypherpunk have referred to, can certainly be healthy and pleasant. The term self-deprecating doesn't simply mean having the ability to laugh at oneself, however, and self-deprecating behaviour can be a reflection of chronically poor self-opinion. Being around someone who is constantly self-deprecating in a non-humourous manner is generally upsetting.

    From dictionary.com:

    self-dep⋅re⋅cat⋅ing
    –adjective belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

    Also:

    self-dep·re·cat·ing
    adj. Tending to undervalue oneself and one's abilities.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
     

    xuliang

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    From dictionary.com:

    self-dep⋅re⋅cat⋅ing
    –adjective belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

    Also:

    self-dep·re·cat·ing
    adj. Tending to undervalue oneself and one's abilities.
    Hi, all. I understand "self-deprecating" is an adjective. Can I just use "self-deprecate" for only one action? For example, at a party, an excellent colleague said he was not good. I translated this to a foreign friend : "He said he is not a good man." I added: 1) "He is self-deprecating. In fact he is a good man, capable and responsible."

    The next day, I told another friend 2) "Yesterday he deprecated himself not a good man."

    For "self-deprecating" in my first sentence 1) I used a "self-deprecate+ing" for perfect tense, not used it as an adjective. I was refering to his action(He said he is not a good man), not referring to his character/quality. I am not sure if my sentence has this meaning.
    For Sentence 2), is it correct or natural? I can't find a way to use "self-deprecated" in this sentence.

    Thank you.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Can I just use "self-deprecate" for only one action?
    No.

    For Sentence 2), is it correct or natural? I can't find a way to use "self-deprecated" in this sentence.
    We don't use "to self-deprecate." We use "self-deprecating" as an adjective (and we use it to describe things like "a remark," "a joke" "humor," and so on; I don't think a person can be "self-deprecating").
     

    xuliang

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    No.

    We don't use "to self-deprecate." We use "self-deprecating" as an adjective (and we use it to describe things like "a remark," "a joke" "humor," and so on; I don't think a person can be "self-deprecating").
    Hi, Glenfarclas, thank you. I misunderstood this word.

    So in my context, is it natural to say "He said he was not a good man. That's a self-deprecating humor. Actually he is capable and responsible." What do native speakers usually say?
    Thank you.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    So in my context, is it natural to say "He said he was not a good man. That's a self-deprecating humor. Actually he is capable and responsible." What do native speakers usually say?
    We would probably say something like "He was just being humble" or "He sells himself short."
     

    xuliang

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    We would probably say something like "He was just being humble" or "He sells himself short."
    Hi, Glenfarclas, thank you for your suggestion.

    I don't intend to disapprove the colleague. I tend to say like mocking at himself humorously . I am wondering if "He was just being humble" or "He sells himself short." conveys my meaning. (I searched "sells himself short" and found it seems to have a sense of disapproving a person who is not confident in himself.)

    Thank you.
     
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