tr.v. em·bar·rassed, em·bar·rass·ing, em·bar·rass·es
1. To cause to feel self-conscious or ill at ease; disconcert: Meeting adults embarrassed the shy child.
2. To hinder with obstacles or difficulties; impede: "an ambitious raid meant to embarrass his supply line by burning the bridges" (William Marvel).
3. Archaic To involve in or hamper with financial difficulties: The company was embarrassed and had to mortgage its properties.
[French embarrasser, to encumber, hamper, from Spanish embarazar, from Italian imbarazzare, from imbarazzo, obstacle, obstruction, from imbarrare, to block, bar : in-, in (from Latin; see EN-1) + barra, bar (from Vulgar Latin *barra).]
Synonyms: embarrass, abash, chagrin, discomfit, disconcert, faze
These verbs mean to cause someone to feel self-conscious and uneasy: were embarrassed by their child's tantrum; felt abashed at the disclosure of the error; will be chagrined if my confident prediction fails; was discomfited by the sudden personal question; is disconcerted by sarcastic remarks; refuses to be fazed by your objections.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.