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Language tip of the week: embarrassing

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Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips will explore different ways to talk about emotions. This week’s tip looks at adjectives you can use to describe situations that make someone feel embarrassed:

embarrassing making you feel nervous, ashamed, or stupid:
The situation was most embarrassing. ♦ Children ask such embarrassing questions. 
Embarrassing is also used about situations that could cause problems for someone:
The figures have proved deeply embarrassing for the government.
awkward difficult to deal with and embarrassing:
After he spoke there was an awkward silence. ♦ Luckily no one asked any awkward questions. ♦ It’s a bit awkward because we’re friends but he’s also my boss.
humiliating making you feel very embarrassed, especially because you have failed publicly or someone has treated you badly in public:
This was a humiliating defeat for the UN. ♦ It was the most humiliating experience of my life.
shameful so bad that you feel ashamed of it:

one of the most shameful episodes in our history ♦ Social problems such as domestic violence are considered shameful and are rarely discussed.
mortifying making you feel very embarrassed, especially because you have failed publicly or someone has treated you badly in public:
How mortifying for her, to have her husband’s infidelities paraded in the newspapers.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘making someone feel embarrassed‘.

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Liz Potter

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