I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with adjectives, but here’s a good one to add to your vocabulary:
ignominious (adj) – deserving or causing public disgrace or shame
It even sounds like you’re looking down your nose at something when you say it. Go on, say it out loud. Ig-no-MIN-i-ous.
I particularly like it coupled with conclusion or ending. A humiliating defeat has a very different emotional connotation to ignominious conclusion. There’s something of the stiff upper lip about the latter that is almost the complete opposite of the former, don’t you think?
Perhaps that’s why this sentence works so well:
“Andrew struggled to conceal the disappointment and – yes – humiliation warring inside his belly at this ignominious conclusion to an experiment he’d been working on for weeks.”
Shelley Adina – Lady of Devices
You really get a sense of struggling to maintain that quintessentially English stiff upper lip. And let’s face it. It’s a much better description than ‘complete failure’. Ugh! Bor-ring!
Now that we’ve got that straight, may your week fare better than Andrew’s experiment!