AskDefine | Define abash

Dictionary Definition

abash v : cause to be embarrassed; cause to feel self-conscious [syn: embarrass]

User Contributed Dictionary



From abaissen, abaisshen, and abashen, from esbahir, formed from es + bair.


  • RP:
    • /əˈbæʃ/


  1. To make ashamed; to embarrass; to destroy the self-possession of; to confuse or confound, as by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or inferiority; to put to shame; to disconcert; to discomfit.
    • He was a man whom no check could abash. - Macaulay.
  2. To lose self-possession; to become ashamed.

Usage notes

  • 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


to make ashamed, to embarrass


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abase, appall, astound, bewilder, bother, bring down, bring low, cast down, chagrin, confound, confuse, crush, debase, degrade, demean, diminish, discomfit, discompose, disconcert, discountenance, dismay, disturb, dump, dump on, embarrass, faze, flummox, humble, humiliate, lower, moider, mortify, perturb, pother, put down, put out, rattle, reduce, set down, take aback, take down, throw into confusion, trip up, upset
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