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See also: s̈ha'me



  • IPA(key): /ʃeɪm/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪm

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English schame, from Old English sċamu, from Proto-Germanic *skamō.


shame (usually uncountable, plural shames)

  1. Uncomfortable or painful feeling due to recognition or consciousness of one's own impropriety or dishonor, or something being exposed that should have been kept private.
    When I realized that I had hurt my friend, I felt deep shame.
    The teenager couldn’t bear the shame of introducing his parents.
    • c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
      Have you no modesty, no maiden shame?
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      When this conversation was repeated in detail within the hearing of the young woman in question, and undoubtedly for his benefit, Mr. Trevor threw shame to the winds and scandalized the Misses Brewster then and there by proclaiming his father to have been a country storekeeper.
  2. Something to regret.
    It was a shame not to see the show after driving all that way.
  3. Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonour; ignominy; derision.
  4. The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach and ignominy.
    • (Can we date this quote by South and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      guides who are the shame of religion
  5. That which is shameful and private, especially private parts.
    • 1611, KJV, Jubilees 3:22:
      And he took fig leaves and sewed them together and made an apron for himself. And he covered his shame.
    • 1991, Martha Graham, Blood Memory, Washington Square Press
      She turns to lift her robe, and lays it across her as though she were revealing her shame, as though she were naked.
    • 2010, Jill Mansell, Millie's Fling, →ISBN:
      She didn't even have her handbag, because Zelda had thoughtfully left it in the kitchen along with her clothes. And nobody had even offered her so much as a T-shirt to cover her shame.
    • 2015, Marlene van Niekerk, Triomf, →ISBN:
      The trouble started early this morning when Pop was shoving his shirt and vest into his pants so he could cover his shame, as he puts it.
    • 2015, Marion Grace Woolley, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, Ghostwoods Books, page 182:
      His genitals lank between his legs, his chin dipped upon his breast, staring down at his shame.
  • (uncomfortable or painful feeling): honor
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



  1. A cry of admonition for the subject of a speech, often used reduplicated, especially in political debates.
    • 1982, "Telecommunications Bill", Hansard
      Mr John Golding: One would not realise that it came from the same Government, because in that letter the Under-Secretary states: "The future of BT's pension scheme is a commercial matter between BT, its workforce, and the trustees of the pensions scheme, and the Government cannot give any guarantees about future pension arrangements."
      Mr. Charles R. Morris: Shame.
    • 1831, The Bristol Job Nott; or, Labouring Man's Friend
      [...] the Duke of Dorset charged in the list with "not known, but supposed forty thousand per year" (charitable supposition) had when formerly in office only about 3 or £4,000, and has not now, nor when the black list was printed, any office whatever -- (Much tumult, and cries of "shame" and "doust the liars")
  2. (South Africa) Expressing sympathy.
    Shame, you poor thing, you must be cold!
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English schamen, from Old English sċamian, from Proto-West Germanic *skamēn, from Proto-Germanic *skamāną.


shame (third-person singular simple present shames, present participle shaming, simple past and past participle shamed)

  1. (transitive) To cause to feel shame.
    I was shamed by the teacher's public disapproval.
    • (Can we date this quote by Robert South and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Were there but one righteous in the world, he would [] shame the world, and not the world him.
  2. To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonor; to disgrace.
  3. (transitive) To drive or compel by shame.
    The politician was shamed into resigning.
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To feel shame, be ashamed.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To mock at; to deride.
Derived terms[edit]