Being able to say I’m embarrassed in Spanish can help you avoid awkward situations while improving your communication skills. However, many learners are unsure of how to say embarrassed in Spanish.
So, below you’ll find a list of the most common formal and slang phrases you can use for this situation. I’ve included examples and short explanations so you can apply these phrases correctly.
Tip: The phrases we use to say I’m embarrassed in Spanish are great for practicing your command of indirect object pronouns, reflexive verbs, past participles, and other essential grammar elements.
1. Me Da Pena
Me da pena and me da vergüenza are phrases we use in Spanish to say that something makes you feel embarrassed. Both expressions are also close in meaning to ‘be ashamed’.
Me da pena hablar en público.
I’m embarrassed to speak in public.
Me da vergüenza lo que dices.
I’m ashamed of what you say.
Tip: By changing ‘me’ for the corresponding Spanish indirect object pronoun, you can use this expression to describe what makes other people feel embarrassed. Check the examples below:
¿Te doy pena?
Do I embarrass you?
¿Le doy pena?
Do I embarrass him?
2. Estoy Avergonzado
Estar avergonzado is a formal way to say “I’m ashamed” or “I’m embarrassed” in Spanish. This expression is used to express remorse about something you did. Some common variations include:
- Estar apenado
- Sentirse avergonzado/apenado
- Estar abochornado
[Verb conjugated] + [avergonzado/a]
Jamás había estado tan avergonzado.
I’ve never been so embarrassed.
Lo siento, estoy apenada por lo que hice.
I’m sorry; I am embarrassed about what I did.
Take Note: Estar avergonzado and its variations are formed with Spanish past participle adjectives. So, these adjectives must agree in number and gender with the subject.
3. ¡Qué Oso!
¡Qué oso! is a Mexican slang phrase that means embarrassing. Mexican speakers use it when they or someone else did something that made a situation awkward.
No, ¡qué oso! Dile tú.
No, that’s embarrassing! You tell him.
Dave vio cuando me caí, ¡qué oso!
Dave saw when I fell. How embarrassing!
Take Note: Hacer el oso is a slang expression Mexicans use to say that they embarrass themselves.
No manches, hice un oso horrible.
Damn, I embarrassed myself so badly.
4. Tengo Pena
Tengo pena or tener vergüenza are casual ways to say “I’m embarrassed” in Spanish. When the context is clear, you can use these expressions alone. If not, you can use an infinitive verb after the expression to explain what makes you feel embarrassed:
Háblale tú, yo tengo mucha pena.
You talk to him, I’m so embarrassed.
Tengo vergüenza de hablar español.
I’m embarrassed of speaking Spanish.
In other contexts, no tener vergüenza can be used to say that someone is shameless.
Take Note: One of the most common uses of tener in Spanish is to describe feelings and symptoms. So, in this case, it can be translated as ‘to be’.
5. Trágame Tierra
If you did something so embarrassing that you wish you could escape that situation, you should use the phrase trágame tierra. This expression means ‘I wish the ground would swallow me up’.
¡Me caí enfrente de todos! ¡Trágame tierra!
I fell in front of everybody! I wish the ground would swallow me up!
6. ¡Qué Vergüenza!
Qué vergüenza is a standard phrase to express remorse and embarrassment in Spanish. This expression and its variations mean ‘how embarrassing’ or ‘what a shame’:
- ¡Qué pena!
- ¡Qué embarazoso / bochorno! (Castilian Spanish)
¡Qué pena! Yo no me animo.
How embarrassing! I can’t bring myself to do it.
¡La gente nos está viendo! ¡Qué vergüenza!
People are watching! How embarrassing!
Take Note: In some contexts, qué pena can be used to express pity (i.e. ‘what a pity’). Additionally, embarazoso, vergonzoso and bochornoso are Spanish adjectives that mean ‘embarrassing’.
7. Se Me Cae la Cara de Vergüenza
Se me cae la cara de vergüenza is a strong way to say “I’m embarrassed” in Spanish. This expression is close in meaning to ‘be very ashamed’ or ‘hang your head in shame’.
|¿Rompiste los platos de mi mamá?||Did you break my mom’s plates?|
|No manches, sí. Se me cae la cara de vergüenza.||Oh my gosh, yes! I’m very ashamed.|
Take Note: This expression works with accidental ‘se’ and Spanish indirect object pronouns. To say that someone else is embarrassed, you only need to change the indirect object pronoun.
8. Quedé en Ridículo
Quedé en ridículo is used to express that something you did put you in an embarrassing situation. This expression is close in meaning to ‘be embarrassed’ or ‘look foolish’. Dejar en ridículo is a common variation of this expression.
Confundí los nombres y quedé en ridículo.
I mixed the names, and I looked foolish.
¿Por qué hiciste eso? Me dejaste en ridículo.
Why did you do that? You embarrassed me.
9. ¡Qué Incómodo!
¡Qué incómodo! means ‘awkward!’ in Spanish. As a result, you can use this phrase to express that a situation is either embarrassing or awkward.
|Jessica me gritó enfrente de todos.||Jessica yelled at me in front of everybody.|
|¡Qué incómodo!||That’s so awkward!|
Now that you’ve learned these popular expressions, it is time to go out there and apply them! ¡No tengas pena y buena suerte!
Download my ‘Embarrassed’ Expressions PDF
Depending on where you are in your Spanish learning journey, these expressions can be a lot to memorize at once. You can download my cheat sheet with all of these ways to talk about embarrassment and memorize them at your own pace!