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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for abash
Historical Examples
  • It would have been useless; nothing could alter or abash her inherent unmorality.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • “She striveth alway to abash (frighten) and trouble me,” sighed Maude.

    The White Rose of Langley Emily Sarah Holt
  • It is impossible to outface Milton, or to abash him with praise.


    Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
  • "Nothing in the world can abash me now," I thought as I wandered carelessly about the salon.

    Childhood Leo Tolstoy
  • The presence of the strangers did not abash her in the least.

    Jack Alphonse Daudet
  • Her reticence in that respect, however, did not in the least abash Jesse.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • Divers flocks of clouds, camp-followers of the storm, could not abash her.

    Parables Of A Province Gilbert Parker
  • And yet, what other course had I to take with a man whom no denial, no scorn could abash?

    Amelia Henry Fielding
  • 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
  • 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
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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
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