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.
  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.
  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.

Origin of embarrass

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)
Related formsem·bar·rassed·ly [em-bar-uhst-lee, -uh-sid-lee] /ɛmˈbær əst li, -ə sɪd li/, adverbem·bar·rass·ing·ly, adverbpre·em·bar·rass, verb (used with object)un·em·bar·rassed, adjective

Synonyms for embarrass

Synonym study

1. See confuse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for embarrassingly

Contemporary Examples of embarrassingly

Historical Examples of embarrassingly

  • The expression "Early Victorian," however, is embarrassingly circumscribed in its meaning.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan

  • "Better a Bedouin in the trackless desert than a man who is forever running the gauntlet at such a risk," he said embarrassingly.

    The Broken Sword

    Dennison Worthington

  • So prolonged was this stare that Blake began to be embarrassingly conscious of it, to fidget under it.

    The Shadow

    Arthur Stringer

  • Still, it was miraculously the twin of the place we had described in our embarrassingly perfect "ad."

    The Brightener

    C. N. Williamson

  • Yet even with these deductions the amount of material is embarrassingly rich.


British Dictionary definitions for embarrassingly

embarrass

verb (mainly tr)
  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
Derived Formsembarrassed, adjectiveembarrassedly, adverb

Word Origin for embarrass

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

embarrass

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper