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[sheym-fuh l]
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  1. causing shame: shameful behavior.
  2. disgraceful or scandalous: shameful treatment.

Origin of shameful

before 950; Middle English; Old English scamful. See shame, -ful
Related formsshame·ful·ly, adverbshame·ful·ness, noun
Can be confusedshameful shameless


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1. mortifying, humiliating. 2. dishonorable, ignominious, vile, base, low.


2. honorable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shameful

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Not shameful, this: the honest pride of a woman in being chosen from many.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But you are fitted for society, and it is shameful to have you exiled from it.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • The scene was so shameful that I could scarce bear to look upon it.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • You're to be congratulated; it's a shameful waste of time and money.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • She had to sacrifice her sinful and shameful affections; no more.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for shameful


  1. causing or deserving shame; scandalous
Derived Formsshamefully, adverbshamefulness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for shameful


Old English scamful "modest;" see shame (n.) + -ful. Meaning "disgraceful, causing shame" is from c.1300. Related: Shamefully; shamefulness. Middle English shamely (adv.) "shamefully" for some reason has fallen from use. Old English scamlic (adj.) "shameful, disgraceful," but this also could mean "modest."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper