you should feel ashamed

Why does ‘for shame’ mean that? ‘Shame’ there is easily understandable, but I can’t understand why ‘for’ is used there for that function. Did it originate in a longer phrase?

1 Answer 1


Probably from forshame:

From Middle English forshamen, from Old English forscamian (“to make ashamed, be ashamed, be modest”); equivalent to for- +‎ shame.


the expression "for shame" dates back to the 14th century as suggested by Dictionary.com

  • I suppose this makes the most sense. I dithered over accepting/upvoting this, because how would it (whether in an imperative sense or not) change from something with an object (‘forshame yourself!’ or ‘that forshames you!’ or something; obviously not correct in the 14th century, but you get my point) to just the word, but I guess it’s analogous to the german ‘danke’ coming from ‘ich danke dir/Ihnen/euch’. Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 9:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.