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French embarrasser, from Spanish embarazar, from Portuguese embaraçar, from em- (from Latin in-) + baraça noose


  • 1a : to place in doubt, perplexity, or difficulties
b : to involve in financial difficulties
c : to cause to experience a state of self-conscious distress <bawdy stories embarrassed him>
  • 2a : to hamper the movement of
b : hinder, impede
  • 3: to make intricate : complicate
  • 4: to impair the activity of (a bodily function) or the function of (a bodily part) <digestion embarrassed by overeating>
intransitive verb


discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle mean to distress by confusing or confounding. embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action <embarrassed to admit that she liked the movie>. discomfit implies a hampering or frustrating accompanied by confusion <hecklers discomfited the speaker>. abash presupposes some initial self-confidence that receives a sudden check, producing shyness, shame, or a feeling of inferiority <abashed by her swift and cutting retort>. disconcert implies an upsetting of equanimity or assurance producing uncertainty or hesitancy <disconcerted by finding so many in attendance>. rattle implies an agitation that impairs thought and judgment <rattled by all the television cameras>.