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Synonym Chooser

How does the verb embarrass contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of embarrass are abash, discomfit, disconcert, and rattle. While all these words mean "to distress by confusing or confounding," embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action.

the question embarrassed her so much she couldn't answer

When might abash be a better fit than embarrass?

The synonyms abash and embarrass are sometimes interchangeable, but abash presupposes some initial self-confidence that receives a sudden check, producing shyness, shame, or a feeling of inferiority.

abashed by her swift and cutting retort

In what contexts can discomfit take the place of embarrass?

The meanings of discomfit and embarrass largely overlap; however, discomfit implies a hampering or frustrating accompanied by confusion.

hecklers discomfited the speaker

When would disconcert be a good substitute for embarrass?

While in some cases nearly identical to embarrass, disconcert implies an upsetting of equanimity or assurance producing uncertainty or hesitancy.

disconcerted by finding so many in attendance

Where would rattle be a reasonable alternative to embarrass?

The words rattle and embarrass can be used in similar contexts, but rattle implies an agitation that impairs thought and judgment.

rattled by all the television cameras

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Cite this Entry

“Embarrass.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/embarrass. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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