Definition of embarrass in English:



  • 1Cause (someone) to feel awkward, self-conscious, or ashamed.

    ‘she wouldn't embarrass either of them by making a scene’
    • ‘In fact, the sages asserted that someone who embarrasses another person in public is akin to a murderer.’
    • ‘I had only seen him like this once before, when he planned his revenge on another lord who had embarrassed him in public.’
    • ‘Regardless of the age of the husband, the relatives give themselves the right to discipline him, scold, restrain, monitor, and embarrass him in public.’
    • ‘So even when the gray haired man I sometimes call my father in public embarrasses me a lot, I love him all the same.’
    • ‘The message is clear: there will be no room for players who break the rules and embarrass the team in public.’
    • ‘And I meant that on SO many levels, levels you will certainly understand once you figure out how to purposefully embarrass me in public.’
    • ‘Except that once in a while she has too much to drink, and embarrasses him in public.’
    • ‘Paul has the kind of parents that embarrass you in public and don't care if people are looking, but don't get him wrong he still loves them.’
    • ‘So, in order to maintain any dignity, I have fomented instead my Macchiavellian plot to discomfit and embarrass David Bowie and myself.’
    • ‘Public opinion embarrassed him until he agreed, under threat of a writ of habeas to force a court hearing, that his mother could be released.’
    • ‘Mathers gave Jeffreys the sort of look a mother gave an ill mannered child that had embarrassed her in public.’
    • ‘I prefer a woman, and a political philosophy, that won't embarrass me in public.’
    • ‘Okay, for those of my readers who have children, how often have your kids embarrassed you in public?’
    • ‘Max humiliates and embarrasses me all the time, so I don't know, this made me happy.’
    • ‘Murdock had stuck Mikey and I with the scene where Poppy runs off after Luciano embarrasses her in public, and Luciano follows her and admits his undying love.’
    • ‘Her scarred face attracted attention; it baffled, confused and embarrassed people.’
    shame, humiliate, make ashamed, demean, abash
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1be embarrassed Be caused financial difficulties.
      ‘he would be embarrassed by estate duty’
  • 2archaic Hamper or impede (a person or action)

    ‘the state of the rivers will embarrass the enemy’
    1. 2.1 Make difficult or intricate; complicate.
      ‘I do not apprehend that this case will be embarrassed by that decision’


Early 17th century (in embarrass (sense 2 of the verb)): from French embarrasser, from Spanish embarazar, probably from Portuguese embaraçar (from baraço ‘halter’).