Word Origin & History
O.E. sceamu, sceomu "feeling of guilt or disgrace," from P.Gmc. *skamo (cf. O.S. skama, O.N. skömm, Swed. skam, O.Fris. scome, Du. schaamte, O.H.G. scama, Ger. Scham), probably from PIE *skem-, from *kem- "to cover" (covering oneself being a common expression of shame). An O.N. word for it was kinnroði,
lit. "cheek-redness," hence, "blush of shame." Gk. distinguished shame in the bad sense of "disgrace, dishonor" (aiskhyne) from shame in the good sense of "modesty, bashfulness" (aidos). The verb is O.E. sceamian (cf. Ger. schämen sich).