- the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
- susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
- disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
- 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.
- to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.
- 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.
- to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.
- to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.
- for shame! you should feel ashamed!: What a thing to say to your mother! For shame!
- put to shame,
- to cause to suffer shame or disgrace.
- to outdo; surpass: She played so well she put all the other tennis players to shame.
Origin of shame
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shame
But there's a ton of value for me in my background and my history, and losing it would be a shame.My Week on Jewish Tinder
January 5, 2015
As ever, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show crew encouraged us to find some humor alongside the horror and the shame.Jon Stewart Laughs to Keep From Vomiting at the CIA Report
Jack Holmes, The Daily Beast Video
December 13, 2014
The post-dinner conversations of staffers and policy-makers was seamed with shame, and even defeatism.Indefensible but Indispensable America
December 12, 2014
It's a shame, because Samberg's work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been stronger than ever this past season.15 Enraging Golden Globe TV Snubs and Surprises: Amy Poehler, 'Mad Men' & More
December 11, 2014
Her own muddled feelings of confusion, shame, and fear are what make the essay great and what make the essay her story.The Right's Rape Trolls vs. Lena Dunham
December 10, 2014
May the powers that guide our destiny, preserve you from any real cause for shame.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
I ever told you she would bring you to shame, thus left to herself.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
"Oh, you were mean—mean—to shame me so," and floods of tears came again.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
This we too well know you can, and have done—more is the shame and the pity!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
I'd level straightway with the dust, and with it sink our shame.
- a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonourable, unworthy, degrading, etc
- capacity to feel such an emotion
- ignominy or disgrace
- a person or thing that causes this
- an occasion for regret, disappointment, etcit's a shame you can't come with us
- put to shame
- to disgrace
- to surpass totally
- Southern African informal
- an expression of sympathy
- an expression of pleasure or endearment
- to cause to feel shame
- to bring shame on; disgrace
- (often foll by into) to compel through a sense of shamehe shamed her into making an apology
- name and shame See name (def. 17)
Word Origin and History for shame
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.
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.