abash

[14] Abash shares a common ancestry with abeyance [16], although the latter underwent an about-turn in meaning in the 17th century which disguises their relationship. They go back to a Latin verb batāre, meaning ‘yawn’ or ‘gape’. This was borrowed into French as baer, later bayer (it was the source of English bay ‘recessed space’). The addition of the prefix es- (from Latin ex-) produced esbaer, later e(s)bahir ‘gape with astonishment’, whence, via the present stem e(s)bass-, came English abash, which originally meant ‘stand amazed’ as well as ‘embarrass, discomfit’. (Bashful is a 16thcentury derivative, with elision of the a-, which was first used by the dramatist Nicholas Udall.) Addition of the prefix a- to Old French baer, meanwhile, had given abaer ‘aspire after’, and its noun abeance ‘aspiration, desire’. In legal terminology, this word was used in French for the condition of a person in expectation or hope of receiving property, but in English the focus quickly became reversed to the property, and its condition of being temporarily without an owner. => ABEYANCE, BASHFUL

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abash — A*bash ([.a]*b[a^]sh ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Abashed} ([.a]*b[a^]sht ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Abashing}.] [OE. abaissen, abaisshen, abashen, OF. esbahir, F. [ e]bahir, to astonish, fr. L. ex + the interjection bah, expressing astonishment. In OE.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • abash — abash; abash·less; abash·ment; abash·less·ly; …   English syllables

  • abash — index browbeat, confound, confuse (bewilder), disconcert, disgrace, disorient, dissuade, embarrass …   Law dictionary

  • abash — (v.) perplex, embarrass, early 15c., earlier lose one s composure, be upset (late 14c.), from O.Fr. esbaiss , present stem of esbaer gape with astonishment, from es out (see EX (Cf. ex )) + ba(y)er to be open, gape, from L. *batare to yawn, gape …   Etymology dictionary

  • abash — discomfit, *embarrass, disconcert, faze, rattle Analogous words: fluster, flurry, *discompose, perturb, disturb, agitate: chagrin, mortify (see corresponding adjectives at ASHAMED): confound, dumbfound, nonplus (see PUZZLE) Antonyms: embolden:… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • abash — [ə bash′] vt. [ME abaishen < OFr esbahir, to astonish < es , intens. (< L ex ) + stem of baer, to gape: see BAY2] to make embarrassed and ill at ease; make self conscious; disconcert SYN. EMBARRASS abashedly [ə bash′əd lē] adv. abashment …   English World dictionary

  • abash — [14] Abash shares a common ancestry with abeyance [16], although the latter underwent an about turn in meaning in the 17th century which disguises their relationship. They go back to a Latin verb batāre, meaning ‘yawn’ or ‘gape’. This was… …   Word origins

  • abash — abashment, n. /euh bash /, v.t. to destroy the self confidence, poise, or self possession of; disconcert; make ashamed or embarrassed: to abash someone by sneering. [1275 1325; ME abaishen < dial. OF abacher, OF abaissier to put down, bring low… …   Universalium

  • abash — verb /əˈbæʃ/ To make ashamed; to embarrass; to destroy the self possession of; to confuse or confound, as by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or …   Wiktionary

  • abash — transitive verb Etymology: Middle English abaishen, from Anglo French abaiss , abair to astonish, alteration of esbair, from ex + baer to open wide, gape more at abeyance Date: 14th century to destroy the self possession or self confidence of ;… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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