Searching for a (preferably) single word or expression that describes when a person used to "better" things (in life) has to live with less.

For example: if someone gets used to fine dining/wine or other luxury lifestyle and then has to "downgrade" to ramen noodles.

Its a mix of nostalgia (for the old/better times), depression (nothing will ever be as good again) and disgust (at having to put up with worse quality).

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, anongoodnurse, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist, Matt Gutting Jan 23 '15 at 19:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This question is Primarily Opinion-based. Someone in such a situation may feel wistful/regretful, resigned, or cheated/deprived, for example. That's at least three different feelings, and I'm sure there are many more. – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '15 at 15:10
  • Well, he felt, if I recall correctly), enraged, indignant, stupefied, cheated, vengeful, challenged, confused, enlightened, then in love, more empathetic, wiser, etc. So, this is a guessing game, which is off topic here. – anongoodnurse Jan 23 '15 at 16:16
  • @FumbleFingers is there a way of getting all the words that could be used to describe the feeling I have requested in my question? is there a better place than english.stackexchange to request this? – nelsonic Jan 25 '15 at 22:11
  • how about a feeling of "has-been-ness"? – user58319 Aug 9 '15 at 8:21
  • has-been-ness is a good one. however we're looking for a word that rolls off the tongue a bit better. thanks! – nelsonic Aug 9 '15 at 8:36

Consider the verb humble, and its participle, humbled

Lower (someone) in dignity or importance: I knew he had humbled himself to ask for my help

Oxford Dictionaries Online


You could say they were (or, felt) debased or demeaned - both of which imply a loss of social standing.


This is the kind of situation in which people are liable to experience disappointment, frustration, dashed hopes/expectations and/or a sense of defeat.

They may feel the rug has been pulled out from under them, or that this wasn't what they signed up for.

  • The rug has been pulled from under you! :) – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '15 at 15:13
  • @FumbleFingers - Whoops. Apparently, I was inadvertently borrowing your ELU persona. :) – Erik Kowal Jan 23 '15 at 15:17
  • I had to check Google Books to be sure (there are thousands of instances of rug in that link, but none at all for rag). I got caught out once before, when I assumed "everybody knows" that a dog can be rife with fleas, but a promising environment has to be ripe with opportunity. Not so in America, apparently. – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '15 at 15:25
  • @FumbleFingers - Nothing so fraught with complications here: just a simple typo. (Though some adventurous sleuths here might allow themselves to speculate regarding a possible connection with toerag. :) – Erik Kowal Jan 23 '15 at 15:30

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