- 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
Examples from the Web for embarrassing
The crowds booed and jeered as the embarrassing scene played out in front of them.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
Think of the embarrassing subway platform or mid-office “adjustment” debacles you could avoid!Would You Pay $100 For a 50 Cent Bulge? Men’s Undies Get Expensive
December 23, 2014
And with that great hope and excitement comes crippling, embarrassing disappointment.The Biggest Bombs of 2014: ‘Sex Tape,’ Mariah Carey’s Vocals, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and More
December 19, 2014
But until voters demand it, politicians will continue to ignore an embarrassing system.Why Isn’t Prison Justice on the Ballot This Tuesday?
Inimai Chettiar, Abigail Finkelman
November 1, 2014
Everyone, of course, was too polite to inquire about the embarrassing number of absentees.There’s Only One Way to Beat ISIS: Work With Assad and Iran
Leslie H. Gelb
October 18, 2014
His situation was one of the most difficult and embarrassing which can be conceived of.The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
The pleasure and honour seemed to be painful and embarrassing to both.Tales And Novels, Volume 9 (of 10)
But what an embarrassing job it is to get acquainted with one's father.The Harbor
And fancy how embarrassing had you continued in the office for which you were engaged.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
An embarrassing accident also favored us with the use of salt.Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home
- causing one to feel confusion or self-consciousness; disconcerting
- (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 embarrassing
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.