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verb em·bar·rass \im-ˈber-əs, -ˈba-rəs\

Simple Definition of embarrass

  • : to make (someone) feel confused and foolish in front of other people

  • : to make (a person, group, government, etc.) look foolish in public

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of embarrass

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to place in doubt, perplexity, or difficulties b :  to involve in financial difficulties c :  to cause to experience a state of self-conscious distress <bawdy stories embarrassed him>

  3. 2 a :  to hamper the movement of b :  hinder, impede

  4. 3 :  to make intricate :  complicate

  5. 4 :  to impair the activity of (a bodily function) or the function of (a bodily part) <digestion embarrassed by overeating>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to become anxiously self-conscious <he embarrasses easily>


play \-ə-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of embarrass in a sentence

  1. Every block billboard, bus stop, or phone booth has his bigger-than-life puss plastered on it, hyping his new movie Me, Myself & Irene. “Look at me. God, I'm everywhere!” [Jim] Carrey actually seems slightly weirded out and embarrassed by his omnipresence. —Josh Wolk, Entertainment Weekly, 23 June 2000

  2. They started holding me and kicking me and triple-teaming me. They'd do anything so I wouldn't dunk on 'em. It was so embarrassing for them. —Shaquille O'Neal, Rolling Stone, 25, Nov. 1993

  3. Unexpected laughter embarrassed the speaker.

  4. She's worried about embarrassing herself in front of such a large audience.

  5. I would never do anything to embarrass my family.

  6. The protest was staged as a deliberate attempt to embarrass the government.

Did You Know?

If you've ever been so embarrassed that you felt like you were caught up in a noose of shame you may have some insight into the origins of the word embarrass. The word can be traced back through French and Spanish to the Portuguese word embaraçar, which was itself probably formed as a combination of the prefix em- (from Latin in-) and "baraça," the Portuguese word for "noose." Though "embarrass" has had various meanings throughout its history in English, these days it most often implies making someone feel or look foolish.

Origin and Etymology of embarrass

French embarrasser, from Spanish embarazar, from Portuguese embaraçar, from em- (from Latin in-) + baraça noose

First Known Use: 1672

Synonym Discussion of embarrass

embarrass, discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle mean to distress by confusing or confounding. embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action <embarrassed to admit that she liked the movie>. discomfit implies a hampering or frustrating accompanied by confusion <hecklers discomfited the speaker>. abash presupposes some initial self-confidence that receives a sudden check, producing shyness, shame, or a feeling of inferiority <abashed by her swift and cutting retort>. disconcert implies an upsetting of equanimity or assurance producing uncertainty or hesitancy <disconcerted by finding so many in attendance>. rattle implies an agitation that impairs thought and judgment <rattled by all the television cameras>.

EMBARRASS Defined for Kids


verb em·bar·rass \im-ˈber-əs\

Definition of embarrass for Students



  1. :  to cause to feel confused and foolish in front of other people <Having to dismount to turn the bicycle around was embarrassing … — Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby>

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb em·bar·rass \im-ˈbar-əs\

Medical Definition of embarrass

  1. :  to impair the activity of (a bodily function) or the function of (a bodily part) <digestion embarrassed by overeating>

Seen and Heard

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