- Shame is a painful feeling of regret, guilt or embarrassment.
An example of shame is a wife feeling guilty about cheating on her husband.
- a painful feeling of having lost the respect of others because of the improper behavior, incompetence, etc. of oneself or of someone that one is close to or associated with
- a tendency to have feelings of this kind, or a capacity for such feeling
- dishonor or disgrace: to bring shame to one's family
- a person or thing that brings shame, dishonor, or disgrace
- something regrettable, unfortunate, or outrageous: it's a shame that he wasn't told
Origin of shameMiddle English ; from Old English scamu, akin to German scham
put to shame
- to cause to feel shame
- to do much better than; surpass; outdo
- a. A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.b. Respect for propriety or morality: Have you no shame?c. Psychiatry A pervasive, negative emotional state, usually originating in childhood, marked by chronic self-reproach and a sense of personal failure.
- a. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy: an act that brought shame on the whole family.b. A regrettable or unfortunate situation: “It was a shame how the place had fallen apart, with tall scorched grass and sagging gutters” (Tom Drury).c. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation: “I would &ellipsis; Forget the shames that you have stained me with” (Shakespeare).
transitive verbshamed shamed, sham·ing, shames shames
- a. To cause to feel shame: “expletives that would have shamed a stevedore” (Jeffrey Tayler).b. To cause to feel ashamed to the point of doing something: I was shamed into making an apology.
- a. To bring dishonor or disgrace on: behavior that shamed him in the eyes of the community.b. To disgrace by surpassing: wanted revenge because a rival had shamed him in the previous race.
Origin of shameMiddle English, from Old English sceamu.
- Uncomfortable or painful feeling due to recognition or consciousness of impropriety, dishonor, or other wrong in the opinion of the person experiencing the feeling. It is caused by awareness of exposure of circumstances of unworthiness or of improper or indecent conduct.
- When I realized that I had hurt my friend, I felt deep shame.
- The teenager couldn’t bear the shame of introducing his parents.
- Something to regret.
- It was a shame not to see the show after driving all that way.
- Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonour; ignominy; derision.
- (archaic) That which is shameful and private, especially body parts.
- Cover your shame!
- While shame is not generally counted, it is countable, for example
- I felt two shames: one for hurting my friend, and a greater one for lying about it.
- A cry of admonition for the subject of a speech, often used reduplicated, especially in political debates.
- (South Africa) Expressing sympathy.
- Shame, you poor thing, you must be cold!
From Middle English, from Old English scamu, scomu, sceamu, sceomu (“shame”), from Proto-Germanic *skamō, and thus cognate with Old High German skama (whence German Scham), Old Dutch skama (Dutch schaamte), Old Frisian skame (West Frisian skamte), and Old Norse skǫmm (whence Icelandic skömm, Danish skam). From Proto-Indo-European *ḱem- (“cover, shroud”), which may also be the source of heaven; see that entry for details.
Compare also Persian شرم (šarm) and Tosk Albanian shaj (“to insult, offend, slander”) / Gheg Albanian shamë (“an insult, offence”).
(third-person singular simple present shames, present participle shaming, simple past and past participle shamed)
- I do shame / To think of what a noble strain you are. — Shakespeare.
- To cause to feel shame.
- I was shamed by the teacher's public disapproval.
- To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonour; to disgrace.
- ahems, haems, hames, Shema
From Old English scamian.