January 03, 2010

What A Shame

This is really a misleading expression often used by English speakers both in writing and speaking. 

What a Shame is different from Shame on You.  But very often it leads to misunderstanding. 

Primarily, we mean by shame as an emotion resulting from awareness of having done something disrespectful or some unworthy, degrading acts.  Interestingly, the word has got as many as 15 meanings, yes fifteen, you heard it right.  It is used in various ways in various contexts.

Let’s discuss those meanings:

1)     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.
2)     Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonor; ignominy; derision; contempt.
3)     The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach and degrades a person in the estimation of others; disagree.
4)     The parts which modesty requires to be covered; the private parts.
5)     To make ashamed; to excite in (a Person) a consciousness of guilt or impropriety or of conduct derogatory to reputation; to put to shame.
6)     To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonor; to disagree.
7)     To mock at; deride.
8)     To feel shame.
9)     An unfortunate development.
10)A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.
11)A state of dishonor.
12)Surpass or beat by a wide margin.
13)Cause to be ashamed.
14)Compel through a sense of shame.
15)Bring shame or dishonor upon.



  1. बहुत बढिया जानकारी है. इसी प्रकार भ्रान्तियां दूर करते रहिये.

  2. nice . it will be a good idea to give one or two liner example of each kind of expression of the word.

  3. "What a shame" and "What a pity" are the same, but "Shame on you" has little to do with pity, doesn't it? Do you know that old song "Woe is me, shame and scandal in the family"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jKN79hgRgg

  4. The word "shame" is the most commonly used word by Australian aboriginal youth today. In the 21st century they still feel embarrassed in front of white people so much that they feel - and express - shame more often than anything else. THAT alone is more than a shame and shame on us for making them still feel this way about themselves.


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