sense of shame

Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
Related to sense of shame: ignominious, ashamed


a. 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.
b. Respect for propriety or morality: Have you no shame?
a. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy: an act that brought shame on the whole family.
b. A regrettable or unfortunate situation: "It was a shame how the place had fallen apart, with tall scorched grass and sagging gutters" (Tom Drury).
c. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation: "I would ... Forget the shames that you have stained me with" (Shakespeare).
tr.v. shamed, sham·ing, shames
a. To cause to feel shame: "expletives that would have shamed a stevedore" (Jeffrey Tayler).
b. To cause to feel ashamed to the point of doing something: I was shamed into making an apology.
a. To bring dishonor or disgrace on: behavior that shamed him in the eyes of the community.
b. To disgrace by surpassing: wanted revenge because a rival had shamed him in the previous race.
put to shame
1. To cause to feel shame.
2. To outdo thoroughly; surpass: Your kindness has put the rest of us to shame.
sense of shame
An understanding and respect for propriety and morality.

[Middle English, from Old English sceamu.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sense of shame - a motivating awareness of ethical responsibility
conscience, moral sense, scruples, sense of right and wrong - motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
With amazement did she first understand that he believed any apology to be in his power; and steadfastly was she persuaded, that he could have no explanation to give, which a just sense of shame would not conceal.
She felt that at that moment she could not put into words the sense of shame, of rapture, and of horror at this stepping into a new life, and she did not want to speak of it, to vulgarize this feeling by inappropriate words.
There is a vestige of decency, a sense of shame, that does much to curb and check those outbreaks of atrocious cruelty so commonly enacted upon the plantation.
And when his other lusts, amid clouds of incense and perfumes and garlands and wines, and all the pleasures of a dissolute life, now let loose, come buzzing around him, nourishing to the utmost the sting of desire which they implant in his drone-like nature, then at last this lord of the soul, having Madness for the captain of his guard, breaks out into a frenzy: and if he finds in himself any good opinions or appetites in process of formation, and there is in him any sense of shame remaining, to these better principles he puts an end, and casts them forth until he has purged away temperance and brought in madness to the full.
It is with no sense of shame that I admit that I was frightened--never before in my life, nor since, did I experience any such agony of soulsearing fear and suspense as enveloped me.
'Your having interfered in this dear boy's behalf before,' said Rose; 'your coming here, at so great a risk, to tell me what you have heard; your manner, which convinces me of the truth of what you say; your evident contrition, and sense of shame; all lead me to believe that you might yet be reclaimed.
Leaving a message of excuse for my mother (I had just sense of shame enough left to shrink from facing her), I hastened away to profit by my invitation on the very day when I received it.
Think of those pure eyes looking at a man who has been accus ed (and never wholly absolved) of the foulest and the vilest of all murders, and then think of what that man must feel if he have any heart and any sense of shame left in him.
But later I laid down the weapon with a sense of shame and mortification.
If we had had only peasants to fight, we should not have let the enemy come so far," said he with a sense of shame and wishing to change the subject.
"But, Cousin, consider that, if you destroy delicacy and a sense of shame in a young girl, you deprave her very fast."
"May heaven," answered Ulysses, "requite to them the wickedness with which they deal high-handedly in another man's house without any sense of shame."