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embarrass

[em-bar-uh s] /ɛmˈbær əs/
verb (used with object)
1.
to cause confusion and shame to; make uncomfortably self-conscious; disconcert; abash:
His bad table manners embarrassed her.
2.
to make difficult or intricate, as a question or problem; complicate.
3.
to put obstacles or difficulties in the way of; impede:
The motion was advanced in order to embarrass the progress of the bill.
4.
to beset with financial difficulties; burden with debt:
The decline in sales embarrassed the company.
verb (used without object)
5.
to become disconcerted, abashed, or confused.
Origin
1665-1675
1665-75; < French embarrasser < Spanish embarazar < Portuguese embaraçar, equivalent to em- em-1 + -baraçar, verbal derivative of baraço, baraça cord, strap, noose (of obscure origin)
Related forms
embarrassedly
[em-bar-uh st-lee, -uh-sid-lee] /ɛmˈbær əst li, -ə sɪd li/ (Show IPA),
adverb
embarrassingly, adverb
preembarrass, verb (used with object)
unembarrassed, adjective
Synonyms
1. discompose, discomfit, chagrin. See confuse. 3. hamper, hinder.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for embarrass
  • My agent was worried I was about to embarrass myself.
  • It was as if the prosecution had set out to embarrass its own witness.
  • If you don't want to embarrass yourself, don't send embarrassing emails.
  • It is just not in my nature to discipline or embarrass students in front of other students.
  • Sorry I had to embarrass you in front of everybody but you left me with no choice.
  • He's not going to embarrass you by yelling and screaming at you in public.
  • You never want to go out there and embarrass yourself.
  • You wouldn't want to embarrass yourself any more than you already have.
  • He asked her the one thing that he knew might embarrass her.
  • You embarrass yourself and your faction by speaking with a child's logic.
British Dictionary definitions for embarrass

embarrass

/ɪmˈbærəs/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
(also intransitive) to feel or cause to feel confusion or self-consciousness; disconcert; fluster
2.
(usually passive) to involve in financial difficulties
3.
(archaic) to make difficult; complicate
4.
(archaic) to impede; obstruct; hamper
Derived Forms
embarrassed, adjective
embarrassedly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: (in the sense: to impede): via French and Spanish from Italian imbarrazzare, from imbarrare to confine within bars; see en-1, bar1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for embarrass
v.

1670s, "perplex, throw into doubt," from French embarrasser (16c.), literally "to block," from embarras "obstacle," from Italian imbarrazzo, from imbarrare "to bar," from in- "into, upon" (see in- (2)) + Vulgar Latin *barra "bar."

Meaning "hamper, hinder" is from 1680s. Meaning "make (someone) feel awkward" first recorded 1828. Original sense preserved in embarras de richesse (1751), from French (1726): the condition of having more wealth than one knows what to do with. Related: Embarrassed; embarrassing; embarrassingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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