em·​bar·​rass·​ing | \ im-ˈber-ə-siŋ , -ˈba-rə-\

Definition of embarrassing

: causing a feeling of self-conscious confusion and distress : causing embarrassment an embarrassing error The official was ever so polite, and ever so sorry, but the rule was strict, and he could not let us in. It was very embarrassing, for many eyes were on us.— Mark Twain

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Other Words from embarrassing

embarrassingly \ im-​ˈber-​ə-​siŋ-​lē , -​ˈba-​rə-​ \ adverb
an embarrassingly messy house

Examples of embarrassing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Some of the early opinions became embarrassing and were quietly deleted. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Some journalists wonder if their profession is tweet-crazy," 29 Jan. 2019 Of course, having these conversations requires a lot of work that’s often uncomfortable, awkward, and embarrassing. Lux Alptraum, The Verge, "Online porn filters will never work," 26 Nov. 2018 Bush attempted to barnstorm the country in support of privatization, but that only drew more attention to an embarrassing and unpopular situation. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The time Nancy Pelosi saved Social Security," 21 Nov. 2018 Learn more about Mackenzie’s firsts — the good, the bad, and the embarrassing — in the video below: Get the Teen Vogue Take. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Mackenzie Ziegler Shares Her Most Memorable and Embarrassing Firsts," 14 Sep. 2018 But as sweet and emotional as Monroe’s delivery was, Lewis made a Joke afterwards that Trent found offensive and embarrassing. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Jeff Lewis Joked Surrogate Should 'Have Waxed' Before Delivering His Daughter on TV," 14 June 2018 Donovan deploys baseball bats, suitcases full of cash and embarrassing information to make sure his clients' dirty secrets remain secret. Hugh Hart, latimes.com, "Be it 'Ray Donovan,' 'Billions' or 'Trust,' TV's fixers crank up the tension," 6 June 2018 More significantly, the show’s revolutionary frankness created gateways for real women to speak openly about topics that were once considered too embarrassing or too personal, like rabbit vibrators or the concept of sluttiness. refinery29.com, "Sex And The City Might Be Dated, But It’ll Never Get Old," 6 June 2018 When embarrassing information or legal threats don’t work, people with power and financial means often turn to old-fashioned payola. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embarrassing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of embarrassing

1778, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

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The first known use of embarrassing was in 1778

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Comments on embarrassing

What made you want to look up embarrassing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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