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[sheym-feyst] /ˈʃeɪmˌfeɪst/
modest or bashful.
showing shame:
shamefaced apologies.
Origin of shamefaced
1545-55; alteration of shamefast by folk etymology; see shame, faced
Related forms
[sheym-fey-sid-lee, sheym-feyst-lee] /ˌʃeɪmˈfeɪ sɪd li, ˈʃeɪmˌfeɪst li/ (Show IPA),
shamefacedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shamefacedness
Historical Examples
  • There was surely some shamefacedness in this, some overstrained modesty which she, Mrs. Masters, could not comprehend.

    The American Senator Anthony Trollope
  • His mirth had some superficial signs of shamefacedness, but it was hopeful underneath.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • Self-love and shamefacedness prevented me from using my common sense.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • Let us never grow ashamed of our saving Saxon shamefacedness.

    Classic French Course in English William Cleaver Wilkinson
  • In prayer, the shamefacedness (αναιδεια) that shrinks from giving trouble should have absolutely no place.

    The Parables of Our Lord William Arnot
  • From the fame and memory of him that begot me, shamefacedness, and manlike behaviour.

    No Cross, No Crown William Penn
  • And across her mind there flitted a fragment of the wedding-prayer, "in shamefacedness grave."

    Saturday's Child Kathleen Norris
  • Mamma owned, with some shamefacedness, it was a bottle of her cordial water and a cake which she had bid Betty make.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • For with Nipper and his class emotion or shamefacedness of any kind always in the first instance produces additional dourness.

  • When he was with them, a lad's shamefacedness, no less than the friction of everyday life, had half hidden it.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for shamefacedness


bashful or modest
showing a sense of shame
Derived Forms
shamefacedly (ʃeɪmˈfeɪsɪdlɪ; ˈʃeɪmˌfeɪstlɪ) adverb
shamefacedness, noun
Word Origin
C16: alteration of earlier shamefast, from Old English sceamfaest; see shame, fast1
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 shamefacedness



"modest, bashful," 1550s, folk etymology alteration of shamefast, from Old English scamfæst "bashful," literally "restrained by shame," or else "firm in modesty," from shame (n.) + -fæst, adjectival suffix (see fast (adj.)). Related: Shamefacedly; shamefacedness.

shamefaced, -fast. It is true that the second is the original form, that -faced is due to a mistake, & that the notion attached to the word is necessarily affected in some slight degree by the change. But those who, in the flush of this discovery, would revert to -fast in ordinary use are rightly rewarded with the name of pedants .... [Fowler]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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