verb (used with object)
- to cause confusion and shame to; make uncomfortably self-conscious; disconcert; abash: His bad table manners embarrassed her.
- to make difficult or intricate, as a question or problem; complicate.
- to put obstacles or difficulties in the way of; impede: The motion was advanced in order to embarrass the progress of the bill.
- to beset with financial difficulties; burden with debt: The decline in sales embarrassed the company.
verb (used without object)
- to become disconcerted, abashed, or confused.
- a river in E Illinois, flowing S and SE to the Wabash River. 185 miles (298 km) long.
verb (mainly tr)
- (also intr) to feel or cause to feel confusion or self-consciousness; disconcert; fluster
- (usually passive) to involve in financial difficulties
- archaic to make difficult; complicate
- archaic to impede; obstruct; hamper
1670s, “perplex, throw into doubt,” from French embarrasser (16c.), literally “to block,” from embarras “obstacle,” from Italian imbarrazzo, from imbarrare “to bar,” from in- “into, upon” (see in- (2)) + Vulgar Latin *barra “bar.”
Meaning “hamper, hinder” is from 1680s. Meaning “make (someone) feel awkward” first recorded 1828. Original sense preserved in embarras de richesse (1751), from French (1726): the condition of having more wealth than one knows what to do with. Related: Embarrassed; embarrassing; embarrassingly.
1660s, from French embarras “obstacle;” see embarrass.