Origin of English word ABASH

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









to embarrass


ABASH means "to put to shame," and  ביש BeeYaiSH is to embarrass. The Old English term baschen is not an old enough etymon, so the rootless, Hebrewless dictionaries fumble with the Old French term esbahir (to astonish), which they trace to Latin ex (from) + bah (interjection of surprise).

בוש      BOSH is "to be ashamed" --  Genesis citation below.  בושה BOOSHaH means "blush" or "shame"; and    הביש HaBHeeYSH is "to embarrass" or “to put to shame” (Ben-Yehudah). ביש   BeeYaiSH is to put to shame. Aramaic bisa means ashamed or timid.

Reversing the ב-ש Bet-Shin  core of בושה BOOSHaH (shame) reveals it as a relevant motive of     תשובה T’SHOOBHaH (repentance)  – see the Shin-Bet subroot at SWIVEL).


Related English words include: ABASHED, ABASHMENT, BASE, BASHFUL, DEBASE and EMBARRASS. Non-English cousins include ws(tyd) and pahshiou, the Polish and Chinese words for shame. Hebrew branches of similar sound and meaning include  BOASHeSH (to tarry). BeeZaYOAN (shame, disgrace), and PeSH[A]h (guilt). French peche is sin.  L'[V]OOSH literally means "for shame," but is usually the term for clothes (which cover up our shame). The Indo-European (IE) root for WEAR (to clothe) is wes. The IE “root” for BARE is bhoso (naked).   

לבןש   L'[V]OOSH (clothes) is to    בושה BOOSHaH (shame) what wes (source of VESTMENTS) is to bhoso (lack of clothes). If you go back far enough, to the Indo-European “root”s and their Hebrew counterparts, even English displays a wonderful symmetry of sense and sound. Attire in Albanian is veshjem. Quechua clothes is p’acha.    If one’s yard is “dressed” or screened for privacy it may have varieties of BUSH. AMBUSH is about being hidden, not foliage. The Indo-European “root” busk  (bush), for BUSH and AMBUSH likely is a branch of this Bet-Shin root. – see BRUSH.      Like פשע        PeSH[A]h (guilt) and French peche (sin) – see PECCADILLO, Japanese fesei  means  injustice and wrong.  There was a time when guilt brought shame.

For the first Biblical mention of shame, before clothes, see the Biblical verse below:

"Both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame" … - Genesis: 2:25

See the VEST entry for the clothes-shame connection .

Bible Verses

Genesis: 2:25 ויהיו שׁניהם ערומים האדם ואשׁתו ולא יתבשׁשׁו׃

“Both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame.



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