View synonyms for embarrass


[ em-bar-uhs ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause confusion and shame to; make uncomfortably self-conscious; disconcert; abash:

    His bad table manners embarrassed her.

    Synonyms: chagrin, discomfit, discompose

  2. to make difficult or intricate, as a question or problem; complicate.
  3. to put obstacles or difficulties in the way of; impede:

    The motion was advanced in order to embarrass the progress of the bill.

    Synonyms: hinder, hamper

  4. to beset with financial difficulties; burden with debt:

    The decline in sales embarrassed the company.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become disconcerted, abashed, or confused.


/ ɪmˈbærəs /


  1. also intr to feel or cause to feel confusion or self-consciousness; disconcert; fluster
  2. usually passive to involve in financial difficulties
  3. archaic.
    to make difficult; complicate
  4. archaic.
    to impede; obstruct; hamper

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Derived Forms

  • emˈbarrassedly, adverb
  • emˈbarrassed, adjective
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Other Words From

  • em·bar·rassed·ly [em-, bar, -, uh, st-lee, -, uh, -sid-lee], adverb
  • em·barrass·ing·ly adverb
  • preem·barrass verb (used with object)
  • unem·barrassed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of embarrass1

1665–75; < French embarrasser < Spanish embarazar < Portuguese embaraçar, equivalent to em- em- 1 + -baraçar, verbal derivative of baraço, baraça cord, strap, noose (of obscure origin)
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Word History and Origins

Origin of embarrass1

C17: (in the sense: to impede): via French and Spanish from Italian imbarrazzare, from imbarrare to confine within bars; see en- 1, bar 1
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Synonym Study

See confuse.
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Example Sentences

He’s still working out his identity as a writer, and thus far that identity has been well-intentioned celeb turned author who hasn’t embarrassed himself.

I made a good living and I’m embarrassed to say that I never really loved it, but now, let’s backtrack.

From Ozy

Miss Manners has always disliked the public ranking of donors, apparently intended to embarrass the smaller ones into buying their way into a higher category.

These elite schools should be embarrassed by their graduates who have committed sedition and they must take action in response if they are to save their reputations.

This revelation embarrassed Democratic members of the committee.

After almost five months without a solution, the lack of initiative is starting to embarrass the Lebanese government.

The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures.

The final question we should ask: are they pursuing justice and the rule of law, or merely silencing those who embarrass them?

Much of the praise of Pence is in this vein—he will not embarrass us.

Nothing to see, just Republican witch hunts designed to embarrass the president and perhaps land blows against Hillary Clinton.

Ministers deprecated the motion as tending to embarrass the administration, and defeat the very end for which it was proposed.

As we approached Pomeroy the militia began to embarrass our march by felling trees and erecting barricades across the roads.

Jane, the elder sister, was the more dignified and it was therefore easier to embarrass her.

The first questions must never perplex or embarrass the pupil, for they are very important.

Not being hot at his preaching there was less enthusiasm about him now, and the presence of the grinder seemed to embarrass him.





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