Difference Between
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Shame vs. Embarrassment: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 9, 2024
Shame is a deep, painful feeling of guilt or inadequacy from one's actions or character, while embarrassment is a temporary discomfort from a socially awkward situation.
Shame vs. Embarrassment

Key Differences

Shame is an intense emotional experience related to the perception of oneself as flawed or inadequate, often leading to feelings of unworthiness. It is deeply rooted in one's self-identity and can be long-lasting. Embarrassment, in contrast, is a more superficial and fleeting emotion, typically triggered by a specific event or situation that causes social discomfort. Unlike shame, embarrassment is often shared and understood in social contexts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
While shame often involves an internal judgment about one's character or actions, embarrassment usually arises from a concern about how others perceive us in a particular instance. Shame can lead to feelings of isolation and self-loathing, indicating a conflict with one's values or self-image. Embarrassment, however, is more about social awkwardness and rarely impacts one's self-esteem to the same depth as shame.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
Shame can be related to significant moral failings or perceived personal defects, and it can linger long after the triggering event has passed. It can affect a person's mental health and relationships. Embarrassment, on the other hand, is typically tied to specific incidents, like a social faux pas, and tends to dissipate quickly as the situation changes or time passes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
In coping mechanisms, shame often requires deeper introspection and possibly therapy to address underlying self-esteem or identity issues. Embarrassment, however, can often be resolved through humor, apologies, or the passage of time, as it is less tied to one's core identity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
Socially, shame can lead to avoidance behaviors, secrecy, and a deep sense of being flawed or inferior. Embarrassment, while uncomfortable, is usually less isolating and can even be a point of relatable humor among peers. It does not generally carry the same level of personal or moral judgment as shame.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Emotional Depth

Deep, linked to self-identity
Superficial, related to social situations
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Jan 09, 2024

Duration

Long-lasting, can be enduring
Temporary, often short-lived
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Jan 09, 2024

Trigger

Personal failings, moral or ethical breaches
Social faux pas, awkward situations
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Jan 09, 2024

Impact on Self-Esteem

Profound, often negative
Minor, usually not affecting self-worth
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Jan 09, 2024

Social Perception

Often involves secrecy, withdrawal
Shared, can lead to humor and relatability
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Jan 09, 2024
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Coping Mechanism

Requires introspection, possibly therapy
Resolved with humor, apologies, time passage
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Jan 09, 2024

Effect on Relationships

Can be damaging and isolating
Rarely impacts relationships deeply
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Jan 09, 2024

Shame and Embarrassment Definitions

Shame

A feeling of guilt or disgrace over wrong actions.
He felt shame for lying to his friends.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Embarrassment

A feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
His stumble caused him great embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Shame

A state of dishonor or disgrace.
Her actions brought shame to her family.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023
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Embarrassment

An event or situation that causes a temporary loss of dignity.
His loud snoring in the meeting was an embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Shame

A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.
She experienced shame after failing the exam.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Embarrassment

A situation causing a feeling of discomfort or awkwardness.
Forgetting her name was a big embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Shame

A condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.
The scandal left him in a state of shame.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Embarrassment

The act or an instance of embarrassing
His embarrassment of the guests ended the party.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A feeling of regret for one's actions, often involving a desire for concealment.
His theft was a source of deep shame he hoped to hide.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Embarrassment

The state of being embarrassed
My face turned red with embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A painful emotion caused by the belief that one is, or is perceived by others to be, inferior or unworthy of affection or respect because of one's actions, thoughts, circumstances, or experiences
Felt shame for having dropped out of school.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A source or cause of being embarrassed
Your display of rudeness was an embarrassment to me.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Respect for propriety or morality
Have you no shame?.
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

An overabundance
An embarrassment of choices at a buffet dinner.
An embarrassment of riches.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy
An act that brought shame on the whole family.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

Financial difficulty
Fell into financial embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A regrettable or unfortunate situation
"It was a shame how the place had fallen apart, with tall scorched grass and sagging gutters" (Tom Drury).
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A state of discomfort arising from bashfulness or consciousness of having violated a social rule; humiliation.
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation
"I would ... Forget the shames that you have stained me with" (Shakespeare).
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A person or thing which is the cause of humiliation to another.
Jack, you are an embarrassment to this family.
Losing this highly publicized case was an embarrassment to the firm.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To cause to feel shame
"expletives that would have shamed a stevedore" (Jeffrey Tayler).
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A large collection of good or valuable things, especially one that exceeds requirements.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To cause to feel ashamed to the point of doing something
I was shamed into making an apology.
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A state of confusion; hesitation; uncertainty
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To bring dishonor or disgrace on
Behavior that shamed him in the eyes of the community.
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

(medical) Impairment of function due to disease: respiratory embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To disgrace by surpassing
Wanted revenge because a rival had shamed him in the previous race.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

(dated) Difficulty in financial matters; poverty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Uncomfortable or painful feeling due to recognition or consciousness of one's own impropriety or dishonor, or something being exposed that should have been kept private.
When I realized that I had hurt my friend, I felt deep shame.
The teenager couldn’t bear the shame of introducing his parents.
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

A state of being embarrassed; perplexity; impediment to freedom of action; entanglement; hindrance; confusion or discomposure of mind, as from not knowing what to do or to say; disconcertedness.
The embarrassment which inexperienced minds have often to express themselves upon paper.
The embarrassments tom commerce growing out of the late regulations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Something to regret.
It was a shame not to see the show after driving all that way.
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

Difficulty or perplexity arising from the want of money to pay debts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonour; ignominy; derision.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

The shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach and ignominy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

The state of being embarrassed (usually by some financial inadequacy);
He is currently suffering financial embarrassments
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

That which is shameful and private, especially private parts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

Some event that causes someone to be embarrassed;
The outcome of the vote was an embarrassment for the liberals
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

The capacity to be ashamed, inhibiting one from brazen behaviour; due regard for one's own moral conduct and how one is perceived by others; restraint, moderation, decency.
Don't you have any shame?
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

Extreme excess;
An embarrassment of riches
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A cry of admonition for the subject of a speech, either to denounce the speaker or to agree with the speaker's denunciation of some person or matter; often used reduplicated, especially in political debates.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

The state of being visibly flustered or ashamed.
Her speech mistake led to visible embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Shame

(South Africa) Expressing sympathy.
Shame, you poor thing, you must be cold!
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Dec 13, 2023

Embarrassment

Discomfiture due to an act or condition perceived as socially awkward.
The wardrobe malfunction was a source of embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Shame

(transitive) To cause to feel shame.
I was shamed by the teacher's public disapproval.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

(transitive) To cover with reproach or ignominy; to denounce as having done something shameful; to dishonor; to disgrace.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

(transitive) To drive or compel by shame.
The politician was shamed into resigning.
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To feel shame, be ashamed.
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To mock at; to deride.
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt or impropriety, or of having done something which injures reputation, or of the exposure of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal.
HIde, for shame,Romans, your grandsires' images,That blush at their degenerate progeny.
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame?
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonor; ignominy; derision; contempt.
Ye have borne the shame of the heathen.
Honor and shame from no condition rise.
And every woe a tear can claimExcept an erring sister's shame.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach, and degrades a person in the estimation of others; disgrace.
O C sar, what a wounding shame is this!
Guides who are the shame of religion.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

The parts which modesty requires to be covered; the private parts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To make ashamed; to excite in (a person) a comsciousness of guilt or impropriety, or of conduct derogatory to reputation; to put to shame.
Were there but one righteous in the world, he would . . . shame the world, and not the world him.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonor; to disgrace.
And with foul cowardice his carcass shame.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To mock at; to deride.
Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

To be ashamed; to feel shame.
I do shameTo think of what a noble strain you are.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

A state of dishonor;
One mistake brought shame to all his family
Suffered the ignominy of being sent to prison
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

An unfortunate development;
It's a pity he couldn't do it
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Bring shame or dishonor upon;
He dishonored his family by committing a serious crime
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Shame

Compel through a sense of shame;
She shamed him into making amends
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Cause to be ashamed
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Dec 13, 2023

Shame

Surpass or beat by a wide margin
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Dec 13, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can shame be positive?

Rarely, as it usually involves negative self-assessment.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

How can one cope with shame?

Through introspection, therapy, and addressing underlying issues.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Is embarrassment always related to public situations?

Mostly, as it often involves social interactions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Is shame always a result of one's own actions?

Not always; it can stem from perceived failings or external judgments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

How does embarrassment differ from shame in social contexts?

Embarrassment is more about social discomfort, while shame relates to deeper personal feelings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

How long does shame typically last?

It can last a long time, depending on the individual and situation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Do cultural factors influence embarrassment?

Absolutely, as social norms vary across cultures.
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Jan 09, 2024

Can shame affect mental health?

Yes, it can lead to issues like depression and anxiety.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Is shame always conscious?

Not always; it can be subconscious.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can embarrassment lead to positive outcomes?

Yes, it can foster empathy and humor in social settings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can people feel embarrassment for others?

Yes, this is known as vicarious embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

What causes shame?

Shame is often caused by an internal perception of failure or inadequacy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Is embarrassment a serious emotion?

It's usually not serious and often temporary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can embarrassment be controlled?

To some extent, through social skills and self-awareness.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

How do children experience shame differently from adults?

Children may not fully understand the implications of shame like adults.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Is embarrassment harmful in the long run?

Typically, it's not harmful and can be easily overcome.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

What role does self-esteem play in shame?

Low self-esteem can intensify feelings of shame.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Does shame always require external validation to resolve?

Not always, but external support can help.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can embarrassment be a sign of social awareness?

Yes, it often indicates social sensitivity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can shared embarrassment strengthen relationships?

Yes, it can create bonds through shared experiences.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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