feeling shame; distressed or embarrassed by feelings of guilt, foolishness, or disgrace: He felt ashamed for having spoken so cruelly.
unwilling or restrained because of fear of shame, ridicule, or disapproval: They were ashamed to show their work.
Chiefly Midland U.S. (especially of children) bashful; timid.

Origin of ashamed

before 1000; orig. past participle of earlier ashame (v.) to be ashamed, Middle English, Old English āscamian, equivalent to ā- a-3 + scamian to shame
Related formsa·sham·ed·ly [uh-shey-mid-lee] /əˈʃeɪ mɪd li/, adverba·sham·ed·ness, nounhalf-a·shamed, adjectivehalf-a·sham·ed·ly, adverb

Synonym study

1. Ashamed, humiliated, mortified refer to a condition or feeling of discomfort or embarrassment. Ashamed focuses on the sense of one's own responsibility for an act, whether it is foolish, improper, or immoral: He was ashamed of his dishonesty. She was ashamed of her mistake. Humiliated stresses a feeling of being humbled or disgraced, without any necessary implication of guilt: He was humiliated by the king. Both words are used equally in situations in which one is felt to be responsible for the actions of another: Robert felt humiliated by his daughter's behavior. Mom was ashamed of the way I looked. Mortified represents an intensification of the feelings implied by the other two words: She was mortified by her clumsiness.

Antonyms for ashamed

1, 2. proud. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ashamed

Contemporary Examples of ashamed

Historical Examples of ashamed

  • He was ashamed, and determined to make amends by a frank confession.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • No, not ashamed, mother; but I thought it was not business-like, and seemed too much like a schoolboy.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Some of us will have to be ashamed of our outcry after our dead.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • But she was sure however credulous she might have been, she had done nothing to be ashamed of.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • She was a Christian from childhood, but she said that she was ashamed to claim the name.

British Dictionary definitions for ashamed


adjective (usually postpositive)

overcome with shame, guilt, or remorse
(foll by of) suffering from feelings of inferiority or shame in relation to (a person, thing, or deed)
(foll by to) unwilling through fear of humiliation, shame, etc
Derived Formsashamedly (əˈʃeɪmɪdlɪ), adverb

Word Origin for ashamed

Old English āscamod, past participle of āscamian to shame, from scamu shame
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 ashamed

Old English asceamed "feeling shame, filled with shame," past participle of ascamian "to feel shame," from a- intensive prefix + scamian "be ashamed, blush; cause shame" (see shame (v.)). The verb is obsolete, but the past participle lives on. Meaning "reluctant through fear of shame" is c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper