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See more synonyms for shamefaced on Thesaurus.com
  1. modest or bashful.
  2. showing shame: shamefaced apologies.
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Origin of shamefaced

1545–55; alteration of shamefast by folk etymology; see shame, faced
Related formsshame·fac·ed·ly [sheym-fey-sid-lee, sheym-feyst-lee] /ˌʃeɪmˈfeɪ sɪd li, ˈʃeɪmˌfeɪst li/, adverbshame·fac·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for shamefaced

Historical Examples

  • It brought them back, a shamefaced crew, laughing at each other.

    Way of the Lawless

    Max Brand

  • "I am going to tell you a secret," he said at last, in a shamefaced way.


    William J. Locke

  • Kirkwood could see his shamefaced, sidelong glances; and despised him properly for them.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Now her cheeks suddenly flushed a burning, shamefaced crimson.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Either she is mistaken, or, the Little'un has forgotten, and is shamefaced.

British Dictionary definitions for shamefaced


  1. bashful or modest
  2. showing a sense of shame
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Derived Formsshamefacedly (ʃeɪmˈfeɪsɪdlɪ, ˈʃeɪmˌfeɪstlɪ), adverbshamefacedness, noun

Word Origin

C16: alteration of earlier shamefast, from Old English sceamfaest; see shame, fast 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 shamefaced


"modest, bashful," 1550s, folk etymology alteration of shamefast, from Old English scamfæst "bashful," literally "restrained by shame," or else "firm in modesty," from shame (n.) + -fæst, adjectival suffix (see fast (adj.)). Related: Shamefacedly; shamefacedness.

shamefaced, -fast. It is true that the second is the original form, that -faced is due to a mistake, & that the notion attached to the word is necessarily affected in some slight degree by the change. But those who, in the flush of this discovery, would revert to -fast in ordinary use are rightly rewarded with the name of pedants .... [Fowler]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper