A*bash" (#), v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abashed (#); p.pr. & vb. n. Abashing.] [OE. abaissen, abaisshen, abashen, OF.esbahir, F. 'ebahir, to astonish, fr. L. ex + the interjection bah, expressing astonishment. In OE. somewhat confused with abase. Cf. Finish.]

To destroy the self-possession of; to confuse or confound, as by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or inferiority; to put to shame; to disconcert; to discomfit.

Abashed, the devil stood, And felt how awful goodness is. Milton.

He was a man whom no check could abash. Macaulay.

Syn. -- To confuse; confound; disconcert; shame. -- To Abash, Confuse, Confound. Abash is a stronger word than confuse, but not so strong as confound. We are abashed when struck either with sudden shame or with a humbling sense of inferiority; as, Peter was abashed in the presence of those who are greatly his superiors. We are confused when, from some unexpected or startling occurrence, we lose clearness of thought and self-possession. Thus, a witness is often confused by a severe cross-examination; a timid person is apt to be confused in entering a room full of strangers. We are confounded when our minds are overwhelmed, as it were, by something wholly unexpected, amazing, dreadful, etc., so that we have nothing to say. Thus, a criminal is usually confounded at the discovery of his guilt.

Satan stood Awhile as mute, confounded what to say. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

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