abash

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in 1303. From Middle English abaisen, abaishen, abashen (to gape with surprise) etc., from Anglo-Norman abaïss, from Middle French abair, abaïsser (to astonish, alter), from Old French esbaïr, ébahir, from es (utterly) + bair (to astonish), from Latin ex- (out of) + baer (to gape), from batāre (to yawn, gape).[1][2][3]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

abash (third-person singular simple present abashes, present participle abashing, simple past and past participle abashed)

  1. (transitive) To make ashamed; to embarrass; to destroy the self-possession of, as by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or inferiority; to disconcert; to discomfit. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350).][1]
    "He was a man whom no check could abash." – Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To lose self-possession; to become ashamed. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 16th century.][1]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Of abash, confuse, confound: Abash is a stronger word than confuse, but not so strong as confound.
    • We are abashed when struck either with sudden shame or with a humbling sense of inferiority; as, Peter was abashed by the look of his Master. So a modest youth is abashed in the presence of those who are greatly his superiors.
    • We are confused when, from some unexpected or startling occurrence, we lose clearness of thought and self-possession. Thus, a witness is often confused by a severe cross-examination; a timid person is apt to be confused in entering a room full of strangers.
    • We are confounded when our minds are overwhelmed, as it were, by something wholly unexpected, amazing, dreadful, etc., so that we have nothing to say. Thus, a criminal is usually confounded at the discovery of his guilt.
    • Satan stood Awhile as mute, confounded what to say. – John Milton

Synonyms[edit]

The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the template {{sense|"gloss"}}, substituting a short version of the definition for "gloss".

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 2
  2. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 2
  3. ^ Christine A. Lindberg (editor), The Oxford College Dictionary, 2nd edition (Spark Publishing, 2007 [2002], ISBN 978-1-4114-0500-4), page 2