I was under the impression that "disgrace" and "humiliation" were synonyms. However, this excerpt from a New Yorker article made me wonder if there were subtle differences between the two words I wasn't aware of:

The problem for Giuliani is that his loyalty may not be reciprocated. Since Trump became President, his closest advisers have been humiliated (Tillerson, Priebus), disgraced (Sean Spicer, Bannon), prosecuted (Flynn, Rick Gates), or all of the above (Manafort). At one point, I asked Giuliani whether he worried about how this chapter of his life would affect his legacy.

So how exactly do the two words differ (I did check the Oxford dictionary, it's just that they still sound pretty much the same to me)?

  • Disgrace is brought upon oneself by one's own behaviour. Humiliation is what others heap upon oneself, rightly or wrongly. – Nigel J Sep 5 '18 at 18:27

Humiliation is a one-time deal. You pick yourself up and get on with whatever you were doing before someone decided to humiliate you.

Disgrace can be a permanent state that does not allow you to resume any of your previous activities, at least not in the same capacity. Everyone, including your former employers, will try to avoid you and pretend they do not know you.

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