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[sheym-fuh l] /ˈʃeɪm fəl/
causing shame:
shameful behavior.
disgraceful or scandalous:
shameful treatment.
Origin of shameful
before 950; Middle English; Old English scamful. See shame, -ful
Related forms
shamefully, adverb
shamefulness, noun
Can be confused
shameful, shameless.
1. mortifying, humiliating. 2. dishonorable, ignominious, vile, base, low.
2. honorable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shameful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He said that his "dragoons" had stampeded in a shameful way, but that his infantry had behaved very well.

  • You're to be congratulated; it's a shameful waste of time and money.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • For, you see, I should like to go home again; but I will not go as I went away, under a shameful cloud.

  • Savage women regard it as shameful to cover their sexual organs.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • He 's a buon figliuolo, Dolly, that must be said, and it would be shameful not to develop such generous instincts.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for shameful


causing or deserving shame; scandalous
Derived Forms
shamefully, adverb
shamefulness, noun
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 shameful

Old English scamful "modest;" see shame (n.) + -ful. Meaning "disgraceful, causing shame" is from c.1300. Related: Shamefully; shamefulness. Middle English shamely (adv.) "shamefully" for some reason has fallen from use. Old English scamlic (adj.) "shameful, disgraceful," but this also could mean "modest."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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