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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.
  • n. Capacity for such a feeling: Have you no shame?
  • n. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation.
  • n. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy.
  • n. A great disappointment.
  • transitive v. To cause to feel shame; put to shame.
  • transitive v. To bring dishonor or disgrace on.
  • transitive v. To disgrace by surpassing.
  • transitive v. To force by making ashamed: He was shamed into making an apology.
  • idiom put to shame To fill with shame; disgrace.
  • idiom put to shame To outdo thoroughly; surpass: Your productivity has put the rest of us to shame.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Uncomfortable or painful feeling due to recognition or consciousness of impropriety, dishonor, or other wrong in the opinion of the person experiencing the feeling. It is caused by awareness of exposure of circumstances of unworthiness or of improper or indecent conduct.
  • n. Something to regret.
  • n. That which is shameful and private, especially on the personal body.
  • interj. A cry of admonition for the subject of a speech, often used reduplicated, especially in political debates.
  • interj. Expressing sympathy.
  • v. To feel shame, be ashamed.
  • v. To cause to feel shame.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt or impropriety, or of having done something which injures reputation, or of the exposure of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal.
  • n. Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonor; ignominy; derision; contempt.
  • n. The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach, and degrades a person in the estimation of others; disgrace.
  • n. The parts which modesty requires to be covered; the private parts.
  • transitive v. To make ashamed; to excite in (a person) a comsciousness of guilt or impropriety, or of conduct derogatory to reputation; to put to shame.
  • transitive v. To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonor; to disgrace.
  • transitive v. To mock at; to deride.
  • intransitive v. To be ashamed; to feel shame.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A painful feeling or sense of degradation excited by a consciousness of having done something unworthy of one's own previous idea of one's excellence; also, a peculiar painful feeling or sense of being in a situation offensive to decency, or likely to bring contempt upon the person experiencing the feeling.
  • n. Tendency to feel distress at any breach of decorum or decency, especially at any unseemly exposure of one's person.
  • n. A thing or person to be ashamed of; that which brings or is a source or cause of contempt, ignominy, or reproach; a disgrace or dishonor.
  • n. Grossly injurious or ignominious treatment or acts; ignominy; disgrace; dishonor; derision; contempt; contumely.
  • n. The parts of the body which modesty requires to be covered.
  • n. Synonyms Mortification. Opprobrium, odium, obloquy, scandal.
  • To be or feel ashamed.
  • To be ashamed of.
  • To make ashamed; cause to blush or to feel degraded, dishonored, or disgraced.
  • To cover with reproach or ignominy; disgrace.
  • To force or drive by shame.
  • To shun through shame.
  • To mock at; deride; treat with contumely or contempt.
  • Synonyms To mortify, humilinte, abash.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a state of dishonor
  • v. compel through a sense of shame
  • v. cause to be ashamed
  • v. surpass or beat by a wide margin
  • n. a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt
  • v. bring shame or dishonor upon
  • n. an unfortunate development


Middle English, from Old English sceamu.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English scamu, sceamu, from Proto-Germanic *skamō, from Proto-Indo-European. Cognate with West Frisian skamte, Dutch schaamte, German Scham, Danish skam, Icelandic skömm. Compare also Persian شرم (šarm) and Albanian shaj ("to insult, offend, slander"), Gheg shamë ("an insult, offence"). (Wiktionary)
Old English scamian (Wiktionary)



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  • from Persian شرم (sharm)

    August 31, 2009

  • Much better as a verb than a noun. A halfway decent exclamation, too.
    Shame! Shame!!

    February 2, 2007