\ ˈshām How to pronounce shame (audio) \

Definition of shame

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
b : the susceptibility to such emotion have you no shame?
2 : a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute : ignominy the shame of being arrested
3a : something that brings censure or reproach also : something to be regretted : pity it's a shame you can't go
b : a cause of feeling shame


shamed; shaming

Definition of shame (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring shame to : disgrace shamed the family name
2 : to put to shame by outdoing
3 : to cause to feel shame
4 : to force by causing to feel guilty shamed into confessing

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Examples of shame in a Sentence

Noun He felt shame for his lies. How could you be so rude? Have you no shame? Her crimes brought shame upon her family. He had to endure the shame of being fired. Verb He was shamed by his behavior at the party. shamed the family name with his conviction for embezzlement
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After all, there isn’t anything other than shame to really force Johnson to act otherwise. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Dominic Cummings’s Very Trumpian Response to His Very English Scandal," 26 May 2020 Yet, out of sight, the struggle for the top jobs will put ferrets in a sack to shame. The Economist, "Banyan Vietnam’s secretive Communist Party embarks on a leadership transition," 23 May 2020 Meanwhile, Courtney and the glowing stick are starring in a joyous practice montage that could put Superman's first flight to shame. Matt Cabral,, "DC's Stargirl pilot recap: A super-heroic start," 19 May 2020 On Instagram and Facebook, in lifestyle magazines and on Youtube channels, pressure had intensified on Muslim families to serve elaborate fast-breaking sunset iftar meals with a perfect decor that would put Martha Stewart to shame. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Not a hardship, but a blessing: Back-to-basics Ramadan," 19 May 2020 Church shame left both Trina and J.J isolated in their pain–too afraid to ask for help. Keyaira Kelly, Essence, "How Gospel Artist J.J. Hairston And Wife Trina Saved Their Marriage Then Made It Stronger," 18 May 2020 Everyone loves pizza, and there’s certainly no shame in whipping up a homemade pepperoni pie for Easter. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Cook a Small (But Still Delicious) Easter Dinner This Year," 9 Apr. 2020 The pair's into the ceremony put romantic comedy movie posters to shame. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "We Are Undeserving of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Adorable London PDA," 5 Mar. 2020 Who has time for shame when there’s a Vanilla Ice cameo to squeeze in before the closing credits? Amy Nicholson, New York Times, "‘The Wrong Missy’ Review: Bad Romance," 14 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nurses took to the streets in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Irvine and Oceanside to shame hospitals for failing to protect them against the coronavirus. Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus energizes the labor movement. Can it last?," 1 May 2020 The students involved should be ashamed of themselves, and the students who knew better shouldn’t hesitate to shame them. Katherine Timpf, National Review, "Students Demand Their School Treat Coronavirus-Themed Party as a ‘Hate Crime’," 28 Feb. 2020 Kur Kuath’s interior annihilation Oklahoma’s 6-foot-10 forward Kuath put the Red Raiders to shame with his interior defense in Oklahoma City. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, "Stale offense dooms Texas Tech in 65-51 loss to Oklahoma," 25 Feb. 2020 The climate activist Greta Thunberg has flung back at her enemies (Donald Trump included) their attempts to shame her for her experiences with depression and for being on the autism spectrum. Lidija Haas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 30 Mar. 2020 Legions of critics, many of them men, awoke from their Super Bowl slumber, rose from their armchairs and tried to shame Lopez and Shakira. Elaine Ayala,, "Ayala: A powerful, provocative Super Bowl half-time show delivered its intended messages," 6 Feb. 2020 But the book is an extraordinary achievement that should shame the hundreds of reporters and editorial writers who naïvely glorified Moses over the decades. New York Times, "Adam Hochschild Says Books Can Change the World. He Has Proof.," 12 Mar. 2020 Either way, this 11-day festival would probably have put our current New Year's Eve parties to shame! Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "Fascinating New Year's History Facts Everyone Should Know for 2020," 18 Nov. 2019 Critics have called her racist names and tried to shame her for her muscular frame. Time, "2003: Serena Williams," 5 Mar. 2020

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shame


Middle English, from Old English scamu; akin to Old High German scama shame

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Time Traveler for shame

Time Traveler

The first known use of shame was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shame

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shame.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for shame


How to pronounce shame (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shame

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong
: ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment
: dishonor or disgrace



English Language Learners Definition of shame (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel ashamed
: to force (someone) to act in a specified way by causing feelings of shame or guilt


\ ˈshām How to pronounce shame (audio) \

Kids Definition of shame

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a painful emotion caused by having done something wrong or improper
2 : ability to feel shame Have you no shame?
3 : dishonor entry 1 sense 1, disgrace There is no shame in admitting mistakes.
4 : something that brings disgrace or causes painful emotion or strong regret It's a shame he couldn't join us.


shamed; shaming

Kids Definition of shame (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make ashamed I was shamed by my actions.
3 : to force by causing to feel shame They were shamed into confessing.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shame

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shame

Spanish Central: Translation of shame

Nglish: Translation of shame for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shame for Arabic Speakers

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