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Alternative forms[edit]


Attested from 1303, as Middle English abaisen, abaishen, abashen (lose one's composure, be upset), from the later 14th-century also transitive "to make ashamed, to perplex or embarrass"; from Anglo-Norman abaïss, from Middle French abair, abaisser (lose one's composure, be startled, be stunned), from Old French esbaïr, (French ébahir), from es- (utterly) + baïr (to astonish), from Medieval Latin *exbadō, from ex- (out of) + bado (I gape, yawn), an onomatopoeic word imitating a yawn, see also French badaud (rubbernecker).[1][2][3][4]



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]
    Synonyms: bewilder, confuse, confound, daunt, discompose, disconcert, discountenance, dishearten, embarrass, faze, fluster, humble, humiliate, mortify, rattle, shake, shame, snub
    Antonyms: abet, animate, buoy, cheer, countenance, embolden, encourage, incite, inspirit, rally, reassure, uphold
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To lose self-possession; to become ashamed. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 16th century.][1]


Derived terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief, William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abash”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 2.
  2. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], →ISBN), page 2
  3. ^ Christine A. Lindberg, editor (2002), “abash”, in The Oxford College Dictionary, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Spark Publishing, →ISBN, page 2.
  4. ^ abash”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.