Try Our Apps


The saddest words


[uh-bash] /əˈbæʃ/
verb (used with object)
to destroy the self-confidence, poise, or self-possession of; disconcert; make ashamed or embarrassed:
to abash someone by sneering.
Origin of abash
dialectal Old French
1275-1325; Middle English abaishen < dialectal Old French abacher, Old French abaissier to put down, bring low (see abase), perhaps conflated with Anglo-French abaiss-, long stem of abair, Old French esba(h)ir to gape, marvel, amaze (es- ex-1 + -ba(h)ir, alteration of baer to open wide, gape < Vulgar Latin *batāre; cf. bay2, bay3)
Related forms
abashment, noun
shame, discompose, embarrass. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for abash
Historical Examples
  • Her reticence in that respect, however, did not in the least abash Jesse.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • “She striveth alway to abash (frighten) and trouble me,” sighed Maude.

    The White Rose of Langley Emily Sarah Holt
  • I warn him, in a tone which ought to abash him, but doesn't in the least.

  • It would have been useless; nothing could alter or abash her inherent unmorality.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • And yet, what other course had I to take with a man whom no denial, no scorn could abash?

    Amelia Henry Fielding
  • Divers flocks of clouds, camp-followers of the storm, could not abash her.

    Parables Of A Province Gilbert Parker
  • "Nothing in the world can abash me now," I thought as I wandered carelessly about the salon.

    Childhood Leo Tolstoy
  • Nor did her presence in the least abash the boys, for they saw no impropriety in the act.

    South and South Central Africa H. Frances Davidson
  • It is impossible to outface Milton, or to abash him with praise.

    Milton Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
  • As I said before, those gentlemen-rascals are hard to abash.

    Francezka Molly Elliot Seawell
British Dictionary definitions for abash


(transitive; usually passive) to cause to feel ill at ease, embarrassed, or confused; make ashamed
Derived Forms
abashment, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Norman French from Old French esbair to be astonished, from es- out + bair to gape, yawn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for abash

"perplex, embarrass," early 15c., earlier "lose one's composure, be upset" (late 14c.), from Old French esbaiss-, present stem of esbaer "gape with astonishment," from es "out" (see ex-) + ba(y)er "to be open, gape," from Latin *batare "to yawn, gape," from root *bat, possibly imitative of yawning. Related: Abashed; abashing. Bashful is a 16c. derivative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for abash

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for abash

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for abash