- to cause confusion and shame to; make uncomfortably self-conscious; disconcert; abash: His bad table manners embarrassed her.
- to make difficult or intricate, as a question or problem; complicate.
- to put obstacles or difficulties in the way of; impede: The motion was advanced in order to embarrass the progress of the bill.
- to beset with financial difficulties; burden with debt: The decline in sales embarrassed the company.
- to become disconcerted, abashed, or confused.
Origin of embarrass
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a river in E Illinois, flowing S and SE to the Wabash River. 185 miles (298 km) long.
Examples from the Web for embarrass
After almost five months without a solution, the lack of initiative is starting to embarrass the Lebanese government.A Sunni-Shia Love Story Imperiled by al Qaeda
December 26, 2014
The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures.No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony
December 24, 2014
The final question we should ask: are they pursuing justice and the rule of law, or merely silencing those who embarrass them?Sentencing Looms for Barrett Brown, Advocate for “Anonymous”
Kevin M. Gallagher
December 15, 2014
Much of the praise of Pence is in this vein—he will not embarrass us.Mike Pence, Dark Horse in Training for 2016
June 27, 2014
Nothing to see, just Republican witch hunts designed to embarrass the president and perhaps land blows against Hillary Clinton.The Scandal at the VA Is Real, and Obama Is Ducking It
May 20, 2014
However, he was not embarrassed; it took a great deal to embarrass him.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
I would give it to you in the original, but it might embarrass you; it certainly would me.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
I asked him for it; but the question appeared to embarrass him.Homeward Bound
James Fenimore Cooper
In the meantime, Rougon's triumph was beginning to embarrass him.The Fortune of the Rougons
This pointed question seemed to embarrass Mr. Parker greatly.Thankful's Inheritance
Joseph C. Lincoln
- (also intr) to feel or cause to feel confusion or self-consciousness; disconcert; fluster
- (usually passive) to involve in financial difficulties
- archaic to make difficult; complicate
- archaic to impede; obstruct; hamper
Word Origin and History for embarrass
1670s, "perplex, throw into doubt," from French embarrasser (16c.), literally "to block," from embarras "obstacle," from Italian imbarrazzo, from imbarrare "to bar," from in- "into, upon" (see in- (2)) + Vulgar Latin *barra "bar."
Meaning "hamper, hinder" is from 1680s. Meaning "make (someone) feel awkward" first recorded 1828. Original sense preserved in embarras de richesse (1751), from French (1726): the condition of having more wealth than one knows what to do with. Related: Embarrassed; embarrassing; embarrassingly.
1660s, from French embarras "obstacle;" see embarrass.