Old English asceamed "feeling shame, filled with shame," past participle of ascamian "to feel shame," from a- intensive prefix + scamian "be ashamed, blush; cause shame" (see shame (v.), and compare German erschämen). The verb is obsolete, but the past participle lives on. Meaning "reluctant through fear of shame" is c. 1300. Related: Ashamedly; ashamedness.
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