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 Instead, their real-life identities quickly circulated online, causing them immense embarrassment with friends and family. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Judge awards women $13 million in massive lawsuit against GirlsDoPorn," 4 Jan. 2020 But apparently, even though Andrew reportedly had no issues with the relationship, the fact that Charles' letters to Camilla were made public and Charles admitted to the affair on national television caused Andrew public embarrassment. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why Did Camilla Shand Marry Andrew Parker Bowles, as Seen on 'The Crown'?," 5 Nov. 2019 Many patients in these cases hesitate to seek medical care because of shame or embarrassment. Laura Dorwart, Health.com, "This Man Had a 3-Inch Pair of Tweezers Stuck in His Urethra—But Showed No Symptoms for 4 Years," 11 Oct. 2019 Its affection for its characters feels protective; the film is reluctant to spill any secrets or cause any embarrassment. New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Farewell,’ a Sham Wedding Is Really a Premature Funeral," 11 July 2019 Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the U.S.—whose leaked advice to London criticizing the Trump administration has caused spectacular embarrassment to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office—was there that night. Dominic Green, WSJ, "Trump, Brexit and the Former Ambassador," 10 July 2019 To some, their arrival at the front is an affront to Libyan national pride and fighting prowess, and a source of embarrassment for the GNA government as Haftar’s camp turns that resentment into a propaganda point. Frederic Wehrey, The New York Review of Books, "Among the Syrian Militiamen of Turkey’s Intervention in Libya," 23 Jan. 2020 Perhaps the lax enforcement of preventative measures is the source of embarrassment. Time, "The Wuhan Pneumonia Crisis Highlights the Danger in China's Opaque Way of Doing Things," 20 Jan. 2020 But victims of these sorts of attacks often don't report them because of embarrassment over being fooled. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Paul Krugman’s no good, very bad Internet day," 9 Jan. 2020

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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embarrassment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embarrassment. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for embarrassment


How to pronounce embarrassment (audio)

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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