em·bar·rass·ment | \ im-ˈber-ə-smənt , -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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The family separations have become an embarrassment to the administration as stories of crying children separated from mothers and kept apart for weeks on end dominated the news in recent weeks. Astrid Galvan, BostonGlobe.com, "1-year-old immigrant goes to court to get reunited with family," 7 July 2018 USA TODAY Sports MOSCOW — Neymar is the most expensive player in soccer history, one of the finest players in the world, a national hero, a cultural icon, a potential World Cup champion and an absolute embarrassment. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "For all his talent, Neymar is an embarrassment to soccer," 2 July 2018 The wide margin of defeat, rarely seen on the House floor, marked an embarrassment for GOP leaders and highlighted how divided both the party and the broader House are on a comprehensive immigration bill. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, "House Defeats GOP Immigration Bill," 27 June 2018 The proliferation of essays and anecdotes (by women, in particular) detailing our personal shame and embarrassment at the hands of our physicians, helps underscore this point. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "Weight Stigma Kept Me Out Of Doctors’ Offices for Almost a Decade," 26 June 2018 That’s an embarrassment anywhere, especially for a franchise that opened a new yard six years ago. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Baseball’s attendance issues go well beyond Oakland," 16 June 2018 The transaction has been a debacle and an embarrassment. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "What the Hell Happened at GE?," 24 May 2018 This is shameful and an international embarrassment. Monique Judge, The Root, "Police Shooting and Killing Black Men? It’s Not the White House’s Problem, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Says," 28 Mar. 2018 True, there were moments of embarrassment in the hearing, as when Congressman Louie Gohmert tried to smear Strzok’s private life. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Washington Post worries Strzok hearings were bad for democracy.," 13 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of embarrassment

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about embarrassment

Share embarrassment

Phrases Related to embarrassment

embarrassment of riches

Statistics for embarrassment

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for embarrassment

The first known use of embarrassment was in 1676

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of embarrassment 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on embarrassment

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


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!