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abash

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Very simple ideas lie within the reach only of complex minds
Remy De Gourmont
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English

Etymology

From Old English abaissen, abaisshen, and abashen, from Old French esbahir, formed from es + bair (to astonish).

Pronunciation

Verb

Infinitive
to abash

Third person singular
abash

Simple past
-

Past participle
-

Present participle
es

to abash (third-person singular simple present abash, present participle es, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (transitive) To make ashamed; to embarrass; to destroy the self-possession of; to confuse or confound, as by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or inferiority; to put to shame; to disconcert; to discomfit.
    "He was a man whom no check could abash." - Macaulay.
  2. (intransitive) (obsolete) To lose self-possession; to become ashamed.

Synonyms

Usage notes

  • Of abash, confuse, confound: Abash is a stronger word than confuse, but not so strong as confound.
    • We are abashed when struck either with sudden shame or with a humbling sense of inferiority; as, Peter was abashed by the look of his Master. So a modest youth is abashed in the presence of those who are greatly his superiors.
    • We are confused when, from some unexpected or startling occurrence, we lose clearness of thought and self-possession. Thus, a witness is often confused by a severe cross-examination; a timid person is apt to be confused in entering a room full of strangers.
    • We are confounded when our minds are overwhelmed, as it were, by something wholly unexpected, amazing, dreadful, etc., so that we have nothing to say. Thus, a criminal is usually confounded at the discovery of his guilt.
    • Satan stood Awhile as mute, confounded what to say. - John Milton

Derived terms

Translations

Shorthand

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