Situation: a man assumes a woman is delicate and will need someone to fight her fights for her. he stumbles on her fighting her own fight and realizes his ego and adherence to sociological stereotypes has given him the wrong opinion.

at this moment his realization of incorrect assumption cause him to feel hubris, or a self mocking.

is there a word that falls in between "hubris" and "self mocking" when acknowledging one's own erroneous prejudice....but not self disgust. looking for a more humorous word. less degrading than mock.

Sample sentence: "He smiled and waived his hand in acknowledgement of his earlier ????? assumption that she would require his interference."

  • 3
    Misguided? Also, you should look hubris up in a dictionary, it doesn't mean what i infer you take it to mean from this post.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 17, 2017 at 10:22
  • The phrase self-deprecation is often used in this kind of situation, but for what the man feels now, not his previous error: "He smiled and waived his hand in self-deprecation, acknowledging the error of his macho assumption."
    – 1006a
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:13
  • 1
    This is confusing because your example question makes it sound like you want an adjective like "misguided," but the example words you gave make it look like you want a noun -- and on top of that, the example "hubris" describes the man when he made the mistake, whereas the other examples (like "self-mocking") describe the man after he realized his mistake. Apr 18, 2017 at 0:14
  • Waived his hand -- what does it mean? Is it painful? Apr 18, 2017 at 1:21

3 Answers 3


I think self-deprecating humor fits your description perfectly. It's basically making a light-hearted joke at your own expense.

The Wikpedia page on self-deprecation has this to say:

Self-deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest. It can be used in humor and tension release.

You could just use the phrase self-deprecation as well, but because the phrase can be used for purposes other than humor and you specified that you're looking for something to describe when someone's being funny, I'd say self-deprecating humor is the way to go to make yourself perfectly clear.


You don't really need it: "He waived his hand in acknowledgement of the presumption that she required his interference."

  • 1
    You're describing a situation but not providing an answer.
    – vickyace
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:53
  • Writing advice is off topic. We are looking for detailed answers which have support from references or notable authors and publications. You will be able to comment on questions when you gain a few points of rep.
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:57
  • I think "You don't need it" counts as an answer. It would help, however, to explain why.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 17, 2017 at 5:38

I would use chagrined - "A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event."

I also like abashed [paraphrasing so the definition is also in past tense] - "ashamed or uneasy; disconcerted." Although I don't think as many people are familiar with abashed.

Both definitions are from:

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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