em·​bar·​rass·​ment | \ im-ˈber-ə-smənt How to pronounce embarrassment (audio) , -ˈba-rəs- \

Definition of embarrassment

1a : something that embarrasses the scandal was a major embarrassment
b : an excessive quantity from which to select used especially in the phrase embarrassment of riches
2 : the state of being embarrassed: such as
a : confusion or disturbance of mind couldn't hide her embarrassment
b : difficulty arising from the want of money to pay debts
c : difficulty in functioning as a result of disease cardiac embarrassment

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Examples of embarrassment in a Sentence

She couldn't hide her embarrassment. The scandal was a major embarrassment for the government. He's an embarrassment to his family.
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Recent Examples on the Web Its disappearance suggested that the WHO removed it to spare the Italian government criticism, embarrassment and liability. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Italy prosecutors: WHO exec lied about spiked virus report," 9 Apr. 2021 Allow yourself time to process your feelings without shame or embarrassment. Lauren Levine Corriher, Southern Living, "How Long After the Loss of a Pet Should You Wait Before Adopting Again?," 5 Apr. 2021 Today, Asian American leaders are urging their community to report any incidents, even those that might not meet the bar for prosecution, and regardless of personal embarrassment or lack of details, such as the perpetrator’s identity. Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY, "Hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise. Here's what activists, lawmakers and police are doing to stop the violence," 27 Feb. 2021 The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a national embarrassment. John Knefel, The New Republic, "Don’t Let Amazon and Airbnb Get Their Tentacles in Vaccine Distribution," 17 Feb. 2021 The lawsuit says, Clarance Crawford, who is Black, suffered embarrassment and mental anguish after being forcibly removed from his car and tased over a minor traffic infraction in January 2020. Taylor Pettaway, ExpressNews.com, "Man tased after minor traffic stop sues city of New Braunfels, former police chief and officer," 11 Jan. 2021 Running back Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt give the Browns an embarrassment of depth at this spot. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Ranking positions Browns fans think Andrew Berry should target in the draft," 2 Apr. 2021 It’s been implicated in abetting corruption in South Africa and Mongolia, accused of enabling oppression in Saudi Arabia, and suffered the embarrassment of a partner’s arrest as part of a massive insider trading scandal. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "McKinsey faces its moment of reckoning," 27 Mar. 2021 One wonders if Craig will transcend the momentary embarrassment of onscreen gas-passing to have a grander last laugh. Daniel D'addario, chicagotribune.com, "Review: QAnon documentary ‘Q: Into the Storm’ investigates conspiracy-theory movement," 15 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embarrassment.' 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 embarrassment

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for embarrassment

Time Traveler

The first known use of embarrassment was in 1676

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Statistics for embarrassment

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embarrassment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embarrassment. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for embarrassment



English Language Learners Definition of embarrassment

: the state of feeling foolish in front of others
: something or someone that causes a person or group to look or feel foolish
: a very large number of things from which to choose


em·​bar·​rass·​ment | \ im-ˈber-əs-mənt How to pronounce embarrassment (audio) \

Kids Definition of embarrassment

1 : something that causes a person or group to feel foolish The poor test scores were an embarrassment to the school.
2 : the condition of feeling foolish in front of others I couldn't hide my embarrassment over the mistake.


em·​bar·​rass·​ment | \ im-ˈbar-ə-smənt How to pronounce embarrassment (audio) \

Medical Definition of embarrassment

: difficulty in functioning as a result of disease cardiac embarrassment respiratory embarrassment

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