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Shame (outdated also shame ) describes on the one hand the loss of reputation and honor, on the other hand the cause of this loss. Shame can only be felt subjectively (see shame ) or it can be induced and sanctioned from outside through contempt , contempt or exposure.


In 1909, Meyer's Konversations-Lexikon defined “shame” as opposed to “ honor ” as “disregard for those who violate morality , good manners or the demands of class, professional etc. honor through their behavior ” “monkey shame” is a colloquial term intended to denote grievances. The origin is probably in the Middle Low German “apenbar” –– “apparently”, so it is about an “obvious shame”.

In the English language means Shame both shame as well as shame in the Greek language is αισχυνƞ also the sense of shame . In French, however, is embarrassment initially for defamatory insults and today the German for exposure, failure, embarrassment . Out of date, shame in the sense of "desecration" is used for forms of fornication as well as the sexual abuse of those under protection, especially incest (blood shame). In Switzerland , the offense of desecration exists for sexual acts with persons incapable of judgment or incapable of resistance. Above all in National Socialist propaganda, the term shame and desecration were used in a folk and racist way in the sense of “ racial shame ”.


Friedrich Kirchner divided the feeling of shame into an "inner" and an "outer shame". The latter would concern the devastating condemnation by third parties. However, if the personal conscience makes the rejectionable judgment, then it is a question of "inner shame". Socrates , Hus and Galileo are of the opinion "that only a person's conscience decides whether a thing is shameful or not for that person".

Old and New Testament

Whoever transgresses God's commandments inflict shame on God (Hebrew ושה "bosche", Greek aischyne) (Num 15:30) and will be ashamed in judgment (Hos 4:19; 1 Kings 1:27; cf. Ps 71, 1); conversely, turning to God can mean disgrace in front of people (Ps 42:11; Heb 12: 2; Acts 5:41), but not in front of God (Rom 5: 5, etc.).

Web links

Wiktionary: Shame  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Affenschande  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Shame  - Quotes
  • Shame in: Adelung: Grammatical-Critical Dictionary of High German Dialect, Volume 3. Leipzig 1798, pp. 1349–1351.

Individual evidence

  1. Schande In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Volume 17. Leipzig 1909, p. 691.
  2.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. Shame in: Adelung: Grammatical-Critical Dictionary of High German Dialect, Volume 3. Leipzig 1798, pp. 1349-1351.
  4. ^ Mackensen - Large German Dictionary , Südwest Verlag, Munich, 1977
  5. Friedrich Kirchner : Art. Schande , in: Dictionary of basic philosophical concepts, 1907
  6. According to F.-W. Eltester, Art. Schande, Schmach , in: Biblisch-historical hand dictionary , Bd. 3, 1685; more detailed: Theological Dictionary of the Old Thestament, Vol. 1, 188ff