Almost like dumbing down, or under utilizing yourself?

  • 1
    Your title is asking two very different questions, no? – JHCL Oct 13 '15 at 9:00

You are probably looking for self-deprecating:

  • tending to undervalue oneself and one's abilities.

  • belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.

The Free Dictionary


Undersell (as per dictionary.com):

  • to advertise with restraint
  • understate the merits of something.

If you say something like "Oh, I'm not that smart," you are probably underselling yourself.

You can also humble yourself.

Humble (as per dictionary.com):

  • to lower in condition, importance or dignity
  • abase
  • I think humble is the better of your two suggestions. I feel like the OP wants a word with "deliberate" connotations, and (in my opinion) undersell carries connotations of non-deliberateness. i.e. someone who undersells themself does so because they don't realise how good they are. – AndyT Oct 13 '15 at 8:03

Are you asking for "make yourself appear stupid," or "make yourself feel stupid?" In the first case (giving the illusion of stupidity), there are some answers here already that I won't steal. In the second case (feeling embarrassed about your own stupidity), you could try "humiliation," as in "he humiliated himself in front of the whole team."

However, speaking under correction, I don't think that there's a word that covers both meanings at the same time.

  • 1
    In a similar context to "humiliated", you could go with "embarrassed", as it relays a similar aura of shame – gabe3886 Oct 13 '15 at 14:44

I'd suggest put oneself down.

put down (someone or something): to make someone or something appear foolish or unimportant. (Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms)


What about "make a fool of yourself "?

  • This is supposed to be a single-word request. – A.P. Oct 13 '15 at 7:19

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