embarrass


embarrass
embarrass, discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle, faze mean to balk by confusing or confounding, but each word is capable of expressing precise and distinctive shades of meaning.
Embarrass characteristically implies some influence which impedes freedom of thought, speech, or action and may be used with reference not only to persons but also to the things they plan or desire to do
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a course of legislation . . . which . . . embarrassed all transactions between individuals, by dispensing with a faithful performance of engagements— John Marshall

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When said of persons it commonly implies and often stresses resulting uneasiness or constraint
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he had, he knew, a sort of charm—it embarrassed him even to admit it— Mary Austin

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I was upset . . . and embarrassed by the crude and childish manner in which the townspeople were reduced to caricatures— J. M. Brown

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Discomfit in this sense typically retains some of its basic denotation of to put to rout; in such use it implies opposition and the competence with which one opponent routs the other and crushes his self-esteem or self-complacency
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an answer that completely discomfited the brash young man

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or throws him into confusion
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Bradley's polemical irony and his obvious zest in using it, his habit of discomfiting an opponent with a sudden profession of ignorance, of inability to understand, or of incapacity for abstruse thought— T. S. Eliot

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the Prime Minister began badly. Discomfited by Labor heckling from the front bench opposite, Eden lost his usual urbanity— Time

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or, sometimes, thwarts his wishes, his hopes, or his plans
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thieves discomfited by a wakeful dog

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he practiced the Socratic method . . . and earned among generations of discomfited students the designation Stinker Taussig— Lovett

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At times discomfit is used with much weakened force and then loses its suggestion of active opponency and implies no more than to make uncomfortable or embarrass
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it is discomfiting to recall the high hopes with which the states that had joined hands to defeat Fascism founded the United Nations— Sat. Review

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he drew discomfited chuckles from them in response to his garish laughter— Straight

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she may heckle the dealer, add a running commentary to the demonstrations, or just assume a discomfiting smugness— Fortune

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Abash presupposes self-confidence or self-possession and implies a usually sudden check to that mood by some influence that awakens shyness or a conviction of error or inferiority or, sometimes, of shame
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a man whom no denial, no scorn could abashFielding

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abashed by the base motives she found herself attributing to Charlotte— Wharton

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Disconcert, like embarrass, may be used in reference to actions and plans, but it is more frequently referred to persons. In either case it implies an upsetting or derangement; in the latter it suggests temporary loss of equanimity or of assurance
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when she saw him there came that flicker of fun into her eyes that was so disconcerting to Mr. Ezra— Deland

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Rattle more than disconcert stresses the emotional agitation accompanying the upset and implies a more complete disorganization of one's mental processes
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the jeering rattled the team and caused them to play badly

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rattled by hypothetical eyes spying on her— Stafford

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Faze is found chiefly in negative expressions, where it comes close to disconcert but sometimes carries the implications of abash and rattle
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neither rebuffs nor threats faze him in the least

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it hit Marciano flush on the right side of the jaw, but it didn't seem to faze him a bit— Liebling

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Analogous words: *discompose, disturb, perturb, fluster, flurry: bewilder, nonplus, perplex (see PUZZLE): *trouble, distress: vex, *annoy, bother, irk: impede, obstruct, block, *hinder: *hamper, fetter, shackle, hog-tie
Antonyms: relieve: facilitate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Embarrass — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Embarrass (Illinois) Embarrass (Minnesota) Embarrass (Wisconsin) Embarrass Township (Illinois) Embarrass Township (Minnesota) Fluss: Embarrass River (Minnesota) Embarrass River (Wisconsin) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Embarrass — may refer to:* Embarrass, Wisconsin, United States * Embarrass Township, Edgar County, Illinois, United States * Embarrass Township, St. Louis County, Minnesota, United Statesee also* Embarras * Embarrass River * Embarrassment …   Wikipedia

  • Embarrass — Em*bar rass ([e^]m*b[a^]r ras), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Embarrassed} ([e^]m*b[a^]r rast); p. pr. & vb. n. {Embarrassing}.] [F. embarrasser (cf. Sp. embarazar, Pg. embara[,c]ar, Pr. barras bar); pref. em (L. in) + LL. barra bar. See {Bar}.] 1. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Embarrass — Embarrass, WI U.S. village in Wisconsin Population (2000): 399 Housing Units (2000): 164 Land area (2000): 1.203737 sq. miles (3.117664 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.003955 sq. miles (0.010243 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.207692 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Embarrass, WI — U.S. village in Wisconsin Population (2000): 399 Housing Units (2000): 164 Land area (2000): 1.203737 sq. miles (3.117664 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.003955 sq. miles (0.010243 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.207692 sq. miles (3.127907 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Embarrass — Em*bar rass, n. [F. embarras. See {Embarrass}, v. t.] Embarrassment. [Obs.] Bp. Warburton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • embarrass — [em bar′əs, imbar′əs] vt. [Fr embarrasser, lit., to encumber, obstruct < Sp embarazar < It imbarrazzare < imbarrare, to bar, impede < in (L in ) + ML barra, BAR1] 1. to cause to feel self conscious, confused, and ill at ease;… …   English World dictionary

  • embarrass — I verb abash, annoy, baffle, bedevil, beset, bewilder, bother, burden, cause confusion, cause discomfort, cause to feel ill at ease, chagrin, confuse, conturbare, discomfit, discomfort, discompose, disconcert, disquiet, distress, disturb,… …   Law dictionary

  • embarrass — (v.) 1670s, perplex, throw into doubt, from Fr. embarrasser (16c.), lit. to block, from embarras obstacle, from It. imbarrazzo, from imbarrare to bar, from in into, upon (see IN (Cf. in ) (2)) + V.L. *barra bar. Meaning …   Etymology dictionary

  • embarrass — embarrass, embarrassment are spelt with two rs and two s s …   Modern English usage


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