1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
  2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
  3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
  4. a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn’t come with us.

verb (used with object), shamed, sham·ing.

  1. to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.
  2. to publicly humiliate or shame for being or doing something specified (usually used in combination): kids who’ve been fat-shamed and bullied;dog-shaming pictures of canines chewing up shoes.
  3. to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.
  4. to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.


  1. for shame! you should feel ashamed!: What a thing to say to your mother! For shame!
  2. put to shame,
    1. to cause to suffer shame or disgrace.
    2. to outdo; surpass: She played so well she put all the other tennis players to shame.


  1. a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonourable, unworthy, degrading, etc
  2. capacity to feel such an emotion
  3. ignominy or disgrace
  4. a person or thing that causes this
  5. an occasion for regret, disappointment, etcit’s a shame you can’t come with us
  6. put to shame
    1. to disgrace
    2. to surpass totally


  1. Southern African informal
    1. an expression of sympathy
    2. an expression of pleasure or endearment

verb (tr)

  1. to cause to feel shame
  2. to bring shame on; disgrace
  3. (often foll by into) to compel through a sense of shamehe shamed her into making an apology
  4. name and shame See name (def. 17)

n.Old English scamu, sceomu “feeling of guilt or disgrace; confusion caused by shame; disgrace, dishonor, insult, loss of esteem or reputation; shameful circumstance, what brings disgrace; modesty; private parts,” from Proto-Germanic *skamo (cf. Old Saxon skama, Old Norse skömm, Swedish skam, Old Frisian scome, Dutch schaamte, Old High German scama, German Scham). The best guess is that this is from PIE *skem-, from *kem- “to cover” (covering oneself being a common expression of shame). Until modern times English had a productive duplicate form in shand. An Old Norse word for it was kinnroði, literally “cheek-redness,” hence, “blush of shame.” Greek distinguished shame in the bad sense of “disgrace, dishonor” (aiskhyne) from shame in the good sense of “modesty, bashfulness” (aidos). To put (someone or something) to shame is mid-13c. Shame culture attested by 1947. v.Old English scamian “be ashamed, blush, feel shame; cause shame,” from the root of shame (n.). Cf. Old Saxon scamian, Dutch schamen, Old High German scamen, Danish skamme, Gothic skaman, German schämen sich. Related: Shamed; shaming. In addition to the idiom beginning with shame

  • shame on you
  • also see:

  • crying shame
  • for shame
  • put to shame
  • 48 queries 0.411