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 But this pride was hounded by a nagging sense of shame—the abiding embarrassment at finding too many things wondrous: a leaf, a bug, a stranger’s face, an ASPCA mobile bus full of homeless kittens. Leslie Jamison, The New York Review of Books, "Other Voices, Other Rooms," 29 Apr. 2020 My perpetrator used shame, embarrassment, manipulation, and fear to keep me silent. Kimberly Zapata, Health.com, "I Was Sexually Assaulted by My Boyfriend—Only I Didn't Realize It Until Years Later," 28 Apr. 2020 The public attention was an embarrassment to Pentagon leaders, who had taken pains to project calm and poise. Anchorage Daily News, "How an outbreak on the USS Roosevelt became a defining moment for the U.S. military," 17 Apr. 2020 My first thought was anger at being yanked out of position, but my second was embarrassment. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "Bonaire: A diver’s paradise where the massive coral reef teems with sea life and beauty," 12 Apr. 2020 What an embarrassment, how unprepared this country is. Deborah Copaken, The Atlantic, "My Whole Household Has COVID-19," 27 Mar. 2020 Ask those Giants, who have been an embarrassment since their second of two Super Bowl wins against the Patriots following the 2011 season. BostonGlobe.com, "Patriots getting a taste of how the other half lives - The Boston Globe," 1 Jan. 2020 Authorities are determined to do better The heist at the Royal Mint of Spain was a global event and incredibly public embarrassment for the Spanish government. Alamin Yohannes, EW.com, "How Netflix hit Money Heist raises the stakes with its second heist," 29 Apr. 2020 Sign Up Now Success and then embarrassment came in rapid succession. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Beastie Boys Keep It On and On," 24 Apr. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embarrassment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embarrassment. Accessed 28 May. 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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