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[uh-bash] /əˈbæʃ/
verb (used with object)
to destroy the self-confidence, poise, or self-possession of; disconcert; make ashamed or embarrassed:
to abash someone by sneering.
Origin of abash
dialectal Old French
1275-1325; Middle English abaishen < dialectal Old French abacher, Old French abaissier to put down, bring low (see abase), perhaps conflated with Anglo-French abaiss-, long stem of abair, Old French esba(h)ir to gape, marvel, amaze (es- ex-1 + -ba(h)ir, alteration of baer to open wide, gape < Vulgar Latin *batāre; cf. bay2, bay3)
Related forms
abashment, noun
shame, discompose, embarrass. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for abashment
Historical Examples
  • He will tell you with pride rather than with abashment that he is an empleado—a State dependent.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman
  • Crimsoning, Alrek fell from his hill of scorn to the valley of abashment.

    The Vinland Champions Ottilie A. Liljencrantz
  • It was the preacher, who with many excuses stepped in and with some abashment tried to grind out what he had to say.

    On the Seaboard August Strindberg
  • The big fellow, his head hung in abashment, looked up pleadingly.

    The Song of the Wolf Frank Mayer
  • And much to my abashment he and the old man fell upon my neck and kissed me on both cheeks.

    Oriental Encounters Marmaduke Pickthall
  • The hot blood mounted to the boy's cheek, whether in abashment or in anger would be impossible to say.

    The Triumph of John Kars Ridgwell Cullum
  • Mr. Garland accepted the introduction with signs of abashment, but stated his business simply.

    V. V.'s Eyes Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • If abashed at heart, at least the world should be uninformed of that abashment.

    The Pace That Kills Edgar Saltus
  • As soon as Ned and I could recover from our abashment, we also said good morning.

    Phaeton Rogers Rossiter Johnson
  • He dropped the hand that had been lightly resting on her arm, and his dapper air of self-confidence wilted in abashment.

    Kilo Ellis Parker Butler
British Dictionary definitions for abashment


(transitive; usually passive) to cause to feel ill at ease, embarrassed, or confused; make ashamed
Derived Forms
abashment, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Norman French from Old French esbair to be astonished, from es- out + bair to gape, yawn
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 abashment



"perplex, embarrass," early 15c., earlier "lose one's composure, be upset" (late 14c.), from Old French esbaiss-, present stem of esbaer "gape with astonishment," from es "out" (see ex-) + ba(y)er "to be open, gape," from Latin *batare "to yawn, gape," from root *bat, possibly imitative of yawning. Related: Abashed; abashing. Bashful is a 16c. derivative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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