disgrace vs shame what difference

what is difference between disgrace and shame



From Middle French disgracier.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪsˈɡɹeɪs/, /dɪzˈɡɹeɪs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪsˈɡɹeɪs/
  • Rhymes: -eɪs


disgrace (countable and uncountable, plural disgraces)

  1. The condition of being out of favor; loss of favor, regard, or respect.
  2. The state of being dishonored, or covered with shame.
    Synonyms: dishonor, ignominy
  3. (countable) Something which brings dishonor; the cause of reproach or shame; great discredit.
  4. (obsolete) An act of unkindness; a disfavor.


  • misgrace (far less common)

Related terms

  • disgraceful
  • disgraceless



disgrace (third-person singular simple present disgraces, present participle disgracing, simple past and past participle disgraced)

  1. (transitive) To put someone out of favor; to bring shame or ignominy upon.


Further reading

  • disgrace in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • disgrace in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.



  • IPA(key): /ʃeɪm/
  • Rhymes: -eɪm

Etymology 1

From Middle English schame, from Old English sċamu, from Proto-Germanic *skamō.


shame (usually uncountable, plural shames)

  1. Uncomfortable or painful feeling due to recognition or consciousness of one’s own impropriety or dishonor, or something being exposed that should have been kept private.
  2. Something to regret.
    • 1977, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Shame
      And what you do to me is a shame.
  3. Reproach incurred or suffered; dishonour; ignominy; derision.
    • [] because ye haue borne the shame of the heathen,
    • 1813, Lord Byron, The Giaour
      And every woe a tear can claim / Except an erring sister’s shame.
  4. The cause or reason of shame; that which brings reproach and ignominy.
    • guides who are the shame of religion
    • 1989, Grant Naylor, Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
      Rimmer ducked his body low into his chair, so just his head remained above the table top, and peered past the backs of the examinees in front of him, waiting for the adjudicator to make his move. Waiting for him to leap forward and rip off his flimsy flightsuit, exposing his shame: his illustrated body, Rimmer’s cheating frame.
  5. That which is shameful and private, especially private parts.
    • 1991, Martha Graham, Blood Memory, Washington Square Press
      She turns to lift her robe, and lays it across her as though she were revealing her shame, as though she were naked.
  • (uncomfortable or painful feeling): dishonor
  • (something regrettable): dishonor, humiliation, mortification, pity
  • See also: Thesaurus:shame
  • (uncomfortable or painful feeling): honor
Derived terms



  1. A cry of admonition for the subject of a speech, either to denounce the speaker or to agree with the speaker’s denunciation of some person or matter; often used reduplicated, especially in political debates.
    • 1982, “Telecommunications Bill”, Hansard
      Mr John Golding: One would not realise that it came from the same Government, because in that letter the Under-Secretary states: “The future of BT’s pension scheme is a commercial matter between BT, its workforce, and the trustees of the pensions scheme, and the Government cannot give any guarantees about future pension arrangements.”
      Mr. Charles R. Morris: Shame.
    • 1831, The Bristol Job Nott; or, Labouring Man’s Friend
      […] the Duke of Dorset charged in the list with “not known, but supposed forty thousand per year” (charitable supposition) had when formerly in office only about 3 or £4,000, and has not now, nor when the black list was printed, any office whatever — (Much tumult, and cries of “shame” and “doust the liars”)
  2. (South Africa) Expressing sympathy.
    Shame, you poor thing, you must be cold!
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English schamen, from Old English sċamian, from Proto-West Germanic *skamēn, from Proto-Germanic *skamāną.


shame (third-person singular simple present shames, present participle shaming, simple past and past participle shamed)

  1. (transitive) To cause to feel shame.
    • Were there but one righteous in the world, he would [] shame the world, and not the world him.
  2. To cover with reproach or ignominy; to dishonor; to disgrace.
  3. (transitive) To drive or compel by shame.
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To feel shame, be ashamed.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To mock at; to deride.
    • Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.
  • (to cause to feel shame): demean, humiliate, insult, mortify
  • (to cause to feel shame): honor, dignify
Derived terms
  • ashamed
  • beshame
  • (sense: to cause to feel shame) creep-shame
  • name and shame


  • shame in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.


  • Hames, Shema, ahems, haems, hames, heams

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