I'm looking for an antonym of the word spoiled.

The sense of spoiled I have in mind is a positive one: "I've become spoiled by these comfy shoes."

I'm looking for a word or short phrase to say: "I've become antispoiled by these horrible shoes and now any other pair would be comfortable."

The closest phrase that I'm aware of is to have one's standards lowered, which isn't quite the same thing and certainly isn't very pithy.

  • +1 for pithy :) Spoiled often implies weakening, someone who has not been spoiled by life I could call hardened by life, or by experience. But in your example, that does not seem to fit all too well...
    – oerkelens
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 15:34
  • 1
    You could use "ruined".
    – Ronan
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 15:42
  • 3
    @oerkelens I think it fits perfectly. 'Some African kids become hardened though playing football in bare feet, they also learn how to kick the ball properly, i.e. not with their toes!.'
    – WS2
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 17:48

18 Answers 18


While indurated and hardened are probably better when you're intending to exaggerate (although indurated is not in common usage and sounds somewhat pompous), I would recommend the phrase used to:

"I've gotten used to wearing uncomfortable shoes; I can wear anything on my feet now"

is the most common opposite of

"I've been spoiled by these comfortable shoes, I can't wear anything else now".


I think deprived pretty much captures exactly this feeling.

I have been so deprived by these shoes, anything else would feel like angel wings by comparison!"

The implication here is not that the speaker has turned their adversity into a strength (such as with the use of the word hardened), or somehow overcome their disadvantage; that would imply a positive connotation. Rather, they have been “defeated” by it, and even a minor improvement over their current situation would seem grand by comparison.

  • 6
    I like the word as an antonym of spoiled, but I don't think it applies well to the context given by the OP. You can't be deprived by uncomfortable shoes, though you could be deprived by being forced to wear uncomfortable shoes.
    – frances
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 15:58

I think the second definition of hardened is closest to the specific situation you describe in which exposure to something unpleasant increases your tolerance for that type of unpleasantness:

2.Experienced in a particular job or activity and therefore not easily upset by its more unpleasant aspects: hardened police officers

  • 1
    I disagree; I think that is the opposite of the sense OP is going for. In his example, "spoiled" is used in a positive sense - it's a good thing to be spoiled, here. So the antonym would need to imply a negative feeling: the speaker is so unfortunate, that even a minor improvement would seem grand by comparison. "Hardened" sounds more like a positive spin on an unfortunate situation, which is not the same. <Insert shameless plug for my answer, here>
    – BTownTKD
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 12:41
  • @BTownTKD, I agree that hardened can be used to imply a positive, but it's also used pretty commonly to convey a negative: "The correction officer was so hardened to human suffering by his job that he struggled to relate to his loved ones' problems."
    – Jaydles
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 14:09
  • I'm convinced; I like it. Also: "Jaded."
    – BTownTKD
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 14:47

Indurated:3. to inure; accustom: to indurate oneself to privation and suffering.

To be made hardy: capable of enduring fatigue, hardship, exposure, etc.; sturdy; strong otherwise known as “hard as nails” (idiom)


I would go with toughened in this case (or toughened up).

Spoiled in your example is equivalent to weakened, or made more sensitive to. Toughened is the opposite, less sensitive and stronger.


I like the word desensitized here.

: to cause (someone or something) to react less to or be less affected by something : to cause (someone or something) to be less sensitive


If you think of spoiled as a context of pampering, i.e. physical luxury, then perhaps physical pain such as torture?

  • 1
    I have been tortured by these uncomfortable shoes. An excellent choice. Of the dozen or so suggestions here, I think this one works best with the O.P.'s example. So, if the shoe fits...
    – J.R.
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 12:51
  • That definitely captures the complement of spoiled in the given context. One could also take a bit of the edge away with the slight variant tormented.
    – D Krueger
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 18:51
  • I cannot agree. No experience of horrible shoes, including crippling pain, numbness, and bleeding blisters, is the equal of true torture. In these times, I'd avoid the hyperbole. In ones where true torture were rare: perhaps. Now: no. Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:56

I kind of like jaded here.

I've become so jaded by these awful shoes that honestly any others would do.

My thinking here is that we use spoiled (in this context) to be the result of endless positive experiences associated with something, whereas jaded is the exact opposite: the result of endless negative experiences associated with something.


Wouldn't an anastrophic antonym be the same word? If the word's meaning is reversed to mean its opposite (negative to positive, visa-versa) then wouldn't the word be the antonym of itself if taken in its original definition?

"I've become spoiled by these comfy shoes."

"I've become spoiled by these horrible shoes and now any other pair would be comfortable."

  • 2
    +1 Eccellente! Ambassador, with these Rocher, you're really spoiling us.
    – Frank
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 18:54
  • 1
    It is brilliant but mind-boggling also. I'm lost between the senses of the word.
    – ermanen
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 15:48
  • What a wonderfully simple answer! Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:52

Depending on context, perhaps chastened:

to restrain from excess; subdue

In some cases, disciplined might work:

to subject to discipline; train; control

  • I think 'chastened / chastening experience' is the only one anyone would actually consider using. Commented May 14, 2014 at 16:27
  • I've become so put-off by these horrible shoes.

  • I've been so abused by these horrible shoes.

  • I'm so darned fed up with these . . .

  • I like abused for this Commented May 15, 2014 at 13:22

How about desperate?

"I've become desperate because of these horrible shoes and now any other pair would be comfortable."

Or, even better:

"These horrible shoes have made me desperate and now any other pair would be comfortable."

  • In the same vein, but less pithy and thus only deserving the status of comment and not alternative suggestion: "I've been led to despair by these horrible shoes . . ." Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:51

You could say settled for less comfortable shoes.

settle for something to agree to or accept something, although it is not exactly what you want


Why not “unspoiled?” Anyway, my impression is that I see “unspoiled” more frequently than I do “spoiled.”


"These horrible shoes have made me {less {fussy / choosy / discriminating}} / {more {easygoing / tolerant}}, and now any other pair would be comfortable."


I suggest humbled. For example:

I’ve become humbled by these horrible shoes.


chastened / tamed ..or if you don't want it Wodehousean, subdued


Great question.

I find it hard to believe neglect hasn't been mentioned yet.

To spoil:

harm the character of one by being too lenient or indulgent

To neglect:

1) not pay proper attention to; disregard.

2) fail to care for properly

Source: OED

Your example:

"I've become spoiled by these comfy shoes."


"I'd be remiss if I neglected to mention how comfortable these shoes are."

It's a bit awkward, but I think a more skilled linguist could easily devise a sentence to capture the essence of this antonym :)

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