\ 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 The level of detail in this 101-page puppy, acquired by our Evan Grant, would put to shame the safety team at a nuclear plant. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Why MLB’s stringent COVID-19 guidelines will make the return to baseball anything but normal," 25 June 2020 The shame is that no one will be in the stands to celebrate, instead sitting at home pouring a beer over their own head after big victories, or firing popcorn in anger after losses at the big screen. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Embrace the chaos! MLB's 2020 season will be like nothing you've ever seen," 23 June 2020 Ranch water doesn't seem to be a thing outside of Texas, which is a darn shame. Abigail Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle, "Ranch Water is (and should always be) your Texas summer cocktail," 22 June 2020 And in the case of the Adidas Design2move shorts, its Climacool ventilation puts other gym shorts to shame. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "The best activewear and athleisure deals at Amazon’s Big Style Sale," 22 June 2020 Several of Japan’s big multinationals have pledged to switch to clean power on a scale and schedule that put the government’s targets to shame. The Economist, "The reinvention of Japan’s power supply is making little headway," 21 June 2020 When shame is talking, then that's your cue to start looking for other, wiser, more compassionate, and more productive voices. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live," 18 June 2020 The men hid their faces during the public trial in fear of recognition, and reported a life ruined by the torture, shame and stigma. Sarah El Sirgany, CNN, "How one gay Egyptian woman stood up to homophobia and paid the ultimate price," 17 June 2020 Just watching a perfectly hittable pitch sail by and walking away in shame. John Shea,, "Owners, players and the state of baseball: what a mess," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That data has been used to identify and shame individual people who have gotten sick, and contributed to the stigma against LGBTQ citizens when a recent outbreak was traced back to specific LGBTQ-friendly bars. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "The global tide has turned against centralized contact tracing apps," 18 June 2020 But don’t shame a mom-to-be who makes a different choice than you. Claire Gillespie,, "Fitness Influencer Anna Victoria Fights Back Against People Shaming Her for Working Out While Pregnant," 18 June 2020 The head of the New York Police Benevolent Association implored politicians and media figures to stop trying to shame all police officers following the death of George Floyd. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "NYPD union boss slams media and politicians for 'trying to shame' police and treating officers like 'thugs'," 9 June 2020 Know the person isn't trying to shame you, but that correction is coming from a place of encouragement to grow. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Dear anti-racist allies: Here's how to respond to microaggressions," 5 June 2020 Their deaths—Jeanne-Claude’s in 2009, Christo’s this past Sunday—ought to shame historians into taking the full measure of it. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, "A Tribute to Christo’s Unforgettable Art Works," 2 June 2020 The film, titled Out of Touch, was posted on the King of Queens star’s YouTube page and directly took shots at people who are afraid to shake hands and those who shame others for not wearing face masks. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Actor Kevin James releases short film mocking strict coronavirus response," 12 May 2020 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

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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shame.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 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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