Word for Wednesday: Embarrass

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for 2023 is tricky spelling words. This year, after sharing the definition and etymology of each week’s word, we will end every blog post with some tips and tricks to help you spell it.

Last month we shared tips for spelling immediatelyceilingdecide, and disappoint. Our first tricky spelling word for May is embarrass

If you embarrass someone it means you make them feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, or ashamed. If you feel embarrassed it means you experience self-consciousness, awkwardness or shame.

Here is embarrass used in some example sentences: 

  • She embarrassed her brother by telling everyone his secret. 
  • I was embarrassed when I tripped over in front of everyone. 
  • The shoplifter was embarrassed when he was caught red-handed.

The meaning of embarrass has evolved over the years from meaning ‘throw into doubt’ in the 1670s, ‘hinder’ in the 1680s, and ‘make someone feel awkward’ in 1809. It comes from the French ‘embarrasser’ meaning ‘to block’, from the Italian ‘imbarrare’.

It’s difficult to keep track of how many Bs, Rs and Ss you need to spell embarrass

Think of this poor blushing person who is embarrassed by her sister’s love of music to help you remember embarrass the one B, two Rs and two Ss: ‘I blush really red when my sister sings’.

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03 May 2023
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