Difference Between Ashamed and Embarrassed

Key Difference – Ashamed vs Embarrassed
 

Although the words ashamed and embarrassed are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two words. Ashamed is used to express the feelings of shame and distress. These feelings of shame can emerge due to actions which the individual considers as beneath him or morally incorrect. Embarrassed, on the other hand, is mostly used when referring to the feeling of awkwardness. This word is mostly used when speaking of social situations. This is the key difference between ashamed and embarrassed. This article attempts to clarify the difference between ashamed and embarrassed.

Ashamed – Definition and Meaning

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to be ashamed is to feel shame or distress. When a person has engaged in an activity or action that he feels guilty about he or she usually feels ashamed.

He was ashamed of himself for having lied to his best friend.

They were ashamed of how they treated the old man.

You should be ashamed of how you behaved last night.

In the examples presented above, the individuals feel shame and guilt because of the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.

Also the word ashamed can be used to refer to the feelings of inferiority as well. When a person feels that he is inferior to the rest of his party, he can be ashamed.

She felt ashamed of her breeding at the banquet.

James felt ashamed of his family.

Another instance where the word ashamed can be used is when a person is reluctant to do something due to fear of being humiliated.

Although he was drowning in work, he was ashamed to seek any assistance.

He was ashamed to speak to him for the fear of being rejected.

Key Difference - Ashamed vs Embarrassed

She felt ashamed of her family.

Embarrassed – Definition and Meaning

The Oxford English Dictionary defined the word embarrassed as feeling awkward or ill at ease. When we feel embarrassed, it makes us extremely self-conscious and results in excessive discomfort. Some believe that the main difference between ashamed and embarrassed stem from the line between morality and social conduct. The word embarrassed is mostly accompanied in a situation where there is a breach in social conduct. However, ashamed is used in situations where there is a breach of morality.

I felt embarrassed when she made a fool of herself in front of the entire audience.

She felt so embarrassed when they saw her there.

He felt embarrassed as he slipped and fell the moment he entered the interview.

Difference Between Ashamed and Embarrassed

She felt so embarrassed when they saw her there.

What is the Difference Between Ashamed and Embarrassed?

Definitions of Ashamed and Embarrassed:

Ashamed: Ashamed is used to express the feelings of shame and distress.

Embarrassed: Embarrassed is mostly used when referring to the feeling of awkwardness.

Characteristics of Ashamed and Embarrassed:

Situation:

Ashamed: Some believe that ashamed is used for a situation where there is a moral breach.

Embarrassed: Embarrassed is used for social situations.

Feelings:

Ashamed: When ashamed the person feels guilt, shame, inferiority and reluctance depending on the situation.

Embarrassed: When embarrassed the person feels self-conscious, awkward and excessive discomfort.

Image Courtesy:
1. Cathy Rattled On Until May Began to Feel Ashamed By Reginald Bathurst Birch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Blushing girl 0001” by Valerie Hinojosa [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Commons