From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. To manage; to conduct; to treat. [Our] clergy have with violence demeaned the matter. (Milton)

2. To conduct; to behave; to comport; followed by the reflexive pronoun. They have demeaned themselves like men born to renown by life or death. (Shak) They answered . . . That they should demean themselves according to their instructions. (Clarendon)

3. To debase; to lower; to degrade; followed by the reflexive pronoun. Her son would demean himself by a marriage with an artist's daughter. (Thackeray)

this sense is probably due to a false etymology which regarded the word as connected with the adjective mean.

Origin: OF. Demener to conduct, guide, manage, f. Se demener to struggle pref. De- (L. De) _ mener to lead, drive, carry on, conduct, fr. L. Minare to drive animals by threatening cries, fr. Minari to threaten. See Menace.