put to shame

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put to shame (third-person singular simple present puts to shame, present participle putting to shame, simple past and past participle put to shame)

  1. (transitive) To humiliate; to disgrace.
    • 1902, Mark Twain, A Double Barrelled Detective Story, ch. 1:
      Any other man in my place would have gone to his house and shot him down like a dog. I wanted to do it, and was minded to do it, but a better thought came to me: to put him to shame; to break his heart; to kill him by inches.
    • 1916 July 2, Rabindranath Tagore, "The Spirit of Japan: A Lecture":
      [Europe] has ever carried her own standard of perfection, by which we can measure her falls and gauge her degrees of failure, by which we can call her before her own tribunal and put her to shame,—the shame which is the sign of the true pride of nobleness.
    • 2016, Maya Oppenheim, "Justin Trudeau shuts down sarcastic reporter with an impromptu explanation of quantum computing," Independent (UK) (retrieved 2 Jan 2018):
      After a sarcastic reporter asked him to explain quantum computing the self-avowed ‘geek’ leapt to the challenge and put him to shame.
  2. (transitive) To outdo thoroughly; to surpass; to outperform; to show up.
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, chapter 19, in My Bondage and My Freedom, New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan:
      Henry put me to shame; he fought, and fought bravely. John and I had made no resistance.
    • 1911, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Our Androcentric Culture, ch. 3:
      [T]he dog is said to have the most diseases second to man; the horse comes next; but the wild ones put us to shame by their superior health and the beauty that belongs to right development.
    • 2013 June 1, Bruce Weber, "Jean Stapleton, Who Played Archie Bunker’s Better Angel, Dies at 90," New York Times (retrieved 2 Jan 2018):
      But in Edith, Ms. Stapleton also found vast wells of compassion and kindness, a natural delight in the company of other people, and a sense of fairness and justice that irritated her husband to no end and also put him to shame.