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

To compound the embarrassment further here's a helpful list of teams that have reached a semi-final since England last did. SI.com, "Panic Stations: We Need to Talk About England's Knockout Record Before It Comes Home on July 15," 2 July 2018 Instead of wallowing in the embarrassment and brokenness associated with these taboo topics, this family turns the situations into not just teaching, but healing moments. Elizabeth Wellington, Philly.com, "Come sit at Jada Pinkett-Smith's red table for some testifying, transparency and healing | Elizabeth Wellington," 19 June 2018 Now, imagine the embarrassment when that guest is a Brazilian fashion model who claims that her previously unblemished face and body turned into a mess of welts and bites after staying at a high-end hotel. Hugo Martin, latimes.com, "Brazilian model sues Hilton, claiming she was bitten by bedbugs at Palm Desert hotel," 16 June 2018 Here, the party’s problem is an embarrassment of riches. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The lesson of the midterms: resistance works," 7 Nov. 2018 This vote, too, was an embarrassment for May because members of her own Conservative Party led the revolt, including her former allies. Jen Kirby, Vox, "UK Parliament just dealt a blow to Theresa May. What’s next for Brexit?," 6 Dec. 2018 Coerced sexting by aggressors who pressure or manipulate their victims can be harmful, triggering guilt, shame and embarrassment. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Minefield of Talking With Your Children About Sexting," 20 Oct. 2018 And forget about any of this being an embarrassment to the administration. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Scott Pruitt is just the symptom. The disease is Trump," 7 July 2018 The 121-301 vote was an embarrassment to both Trump and House Republican leaders who had spent weeks trying to bring together Republican hard-liners and immigration moderates — and ended up alienating many in both camps. Thomas Kaplan, BostonGlobe.com, "House Rejects Immigration Overhaul Despite Trump’s Late Plea," 27 June 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.

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First Known Use of embarrassment

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for embarrassment

Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for embarrassment

The first known use of embarrassment was in 1676

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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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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 boil down or concentrate

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