\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are pages full of pain, shame, and heartbreak. Mary Colurso |, al, 8 Sep. 2021 Yet the lyrical mix of shame, pride, and promise expressed here suggested that October's Very Own was about to transition from overgrown boyhood into manhood by way of fatherhood. Gary Suarez,, 7 Sep. 2021 Guilt, shame, associated with surviving such disgusting and heinous attacks. Essence, 3 Sep. 2021 Especially for once-powerful types, the shock (sometimes the shame) of retirement or, worse, redundancy, can pack a devastating punch. Avivah Wittenberg-cox, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 And under a veil of secrecy, where stories are only shared in hushed whispers if at all, a culture of stigma, shame, self-doubt, and confusion has thrived. Danielle Campoamo, Allure, 1 Sep. 2021 The shame, the guilt, and the blame always belong to the perpetrators. India Oxenberg,, 26 Aug. 2021 Much of it before the pandemic was fueled by European flygskam (flight shame) about the carbon footprint of short flights, and weekly climate-change protests in many European cities. Adam H. Graham, WSJ, 25 Aug. 2021 The people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora in America and around the world carry pride, not shame or embarrassment, about their rich history. Peniel E. Joseph, CNN, 20 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Texas’ attorney general apparently is trying to publicly shame school districts that are mandating masks in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. Talia Richman, Dallas News, 18 Aug. 2021 My boss didn’t shame me or pressure me to keep performing at work. Natasha Lavende, SELF, 13 Aug. 2021 Over the last several months, right-leaning Consumers’ Research has embarked on a multi-million-dollar push to name and shame several large companies that have recently spoken out against major conservative priorities. Tamar Hallerman, ajc, 11 Aug. 2021 Don't shame people who are unvaccinated, and don't show your own anger. Peggy Drexler, CNN, 31 July 2021 For their part, the BAM Bus ladies don’t want to shame or embarrass the guy, but to celebrate the friendship that came out of their bonkers situation. Elizabeth Loga, Glamour, 16 July 2021 Human rights experts said repressive governments commonly try to shame women into silence. NBC News, 1 Aug. 2021 Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA President JC Tretter feels the NFL is trying to shame players by urging teams to require vaccinated and unvaccinated players to wear different colored wristbands., 29 July 2021 In 1994, while debating on the house floor, fellow Republican Bob Dornan of California outed Gunderson in an attempt to shame him in the eyes of the public. Samantha Hendrickson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 June 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About shame

Time Traveler for shame

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shame




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shame

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shame.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shame



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shame

Nglish: Translation of shame for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shame for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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