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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce shame (audio)

Dictionary definition of shame

A powerful and often painful emotion that arises from feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgrace.
"She felt a deep sense of shame for betraying her friend's trust."

Detailed meaning of shame

It encompasses the sense of humiliation or regret that arises when one perceives themselves as having fallen short of societal norms, expectations, or personal values. Shame is typically associated with a sense of self-judgment or negative evaluation, where one feels a profound sense of unworthiness or inadequacy. It can result from real or perceived failures, moral transgressions, or public exposure of personal shortcomings. The experience of shame often leads to a desire to hide or withdraw from others, as it carries a sense of unworthiness or a fear of judgment and rejection. Shame can be a powerful motivator for change and self-improvement, but it can also have detrimental effects on one's self-esteem and well-being. It is a complex and deeply ingrained emotion that influences one's behavior, self-perception, and social interactions.

Example sentences containing shame

1. The politician's scandal brought shame upon their entire party.
2. He couldn't bear the shame of failing his family's expectations.
3. The child hid in the corner, consumed by shame after breaking the vase.
4. Society often attaches shame to individuals who deviate from societal norms.
5. The artist's work was rejected, causing her to feel a profound sense of shame.
6. The employee felt a sense of shame after being publicly reprimanded by the boss.

History and etymology of shame

The noun 'shame' has its etymological roots in several languages. It can be traced back to the Old English word 'sceamu,' which meant a feeling of disgrace or dishonor. This Old English term shares its origins with the Proto-Germanic word '*skamô,' which also conveyed the sense of shame or disgrace. Furthermore, these Germanic roots can be connected to the Proto-Indo-European root '*kem(e),' which meant to cover or to hide. This connection underscores the idea that shame often involves a desire to hide or cover one's actions or identity due to feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgrace. Throughout its linguistic evolution, 'shame' has remained a powerful and often painful emotion, reflecting the complex interplay of social norms, personal values, and individual conscience in the human experience.

Quiz: Find the meaning of shame

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Further usage examples of shame

1. The shame of losing the game in front of a large crowd overwhelmed him.
2. She carried the shame of her past mistakes, even though she had changed.
3. The thief showed no shame as he stole from the vulnerable.
4. He struggled with shame and guilt over his past actions, seeking redemption.
5. The victim of bullying experienced shame and humiliation on a daily basis.
6. The look of shame in his eyes was heart-wrenching.
7. She couldn't bear the shame of her failure any longer.
8. Shame washed over her as she realized her mistake.
9. The shame of his past haunted him relentlessly.
10. A cloud of shame hung over the entire situation.
11. He tried to hide his shame behind a forced smile.
12. Shame overwhelmed her when she broke the vase.
13. The shame of betrayal strained their friendship.
14. It was hard to shake off the weight of shame.
15. Shame gnawed at him as he admitted his lie.
16. The shame of being late was hard to bear.
17. She felt a deep sense of shame for her actions.
18. Shame enveloped him as he faced the consequences.
19. The shame of his actions kept him up at night.
20. She tried to mask her shame with false bravado.
21. Shame clouded his judgment in that critical moment.
22. The shame of his past haunted him relentlessly.
23. He bore the shame of his family's dark secret.
24. The shame of losing the game was palpable.
25. Shame lingered in the air long after the argument.



disgrace, pride, honor, esteem


Sorrow and Strife, Emotional Extremes and Reactions, Emotions and Serendipity

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