I'm looking for a word describing someone that felt undermined, stepped on by an action I did. It would work in a sentence like "I am sorry if I (word) you". I'm looking for a softer word than "offended", something with a more emotional connotation.

  • 1
    I think this is too localised. If you really don't think "I am sorry if I offended you" is sufficiently conciliatory, you need to find your own words and speak from the heart, not regurgitate a dictionary. Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 3:47
  • @FumbleFingers I agree with you, thanks for your concern but the only reason I posted this question is to find a word I've heard before.
    – Wadih M.
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 12:20
  • np. Sorry if I seemed dismissive of you. There's certainly nothing wrong with asking, but I just don't think ELU should be voting on the "politeness" of various possible phrasings - imho that's etiquette, not language as such. Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 13:14

4 Answers 4


Consider slighted, the past participle of slight, which has senses including "To treat with disdain or neglect" and "To act negligently or carelessly." Much less formally, to diss means "To put (someone) down, or show disrespect by the use of insulting language or dismissive behaviour."

I think of slight and diss as slightly more neutral words than offend, rather than "more emotional". Perhaps what you want are words that are "more sensitive" rather than "more emotional". For example, to say either "I'm sorry if I cut you off at the knees" or "I'm sorry if I knocked the stuffing out of you" would be more emotional but less sensitive.

  • +1 for "slighted", but I'd say that "dissed" sounds too much like slang to suit an apology ("I am sorry if I dissed you"). Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 4:58

The other option is to apologize for what you did, and not for how you made them feel:

I'm sorry that I overstepped my bounds.

In other words are you sorry for what you did, or do you feel justified in what you did and are just sorry that they felt slighted in the process?

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    This might be a pet peeve, but I don't like conditional apologies; they never seem sincere to me. Either you're sorry or you're not, but don't be sorry only if something is the case. "I'm sorry that I overstepped my bounds" might be better. Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 5:00
  • Yes you are correct. I'll edit.
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 5:57
  • Thanks Jim - and now I need to apologise to you, because I just noticed that the OP had "sorry if" in the wording request... :-) Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 6:40

You could use upset or disrespected there.


Both abrogated and derogated would work, but I think jwpat7's answer fits better.

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