abash vs disconcert

Annakrutitskaya

Senior Member
Russian
Hello!

Is there any significant difference in the meaning and usage of these two verbs 'to disconcert' and 'to abash'? According to several dictinaries (ABBY Lingvo, http://www.wordreference.com/definition/disconcert, etc) they have a very close meaning. Or are they used for different situations?

Examples:

1) Would a bishop abash you? A parish clerk panic you? A deacon disconcert? (here H. Mantel used both verbs in three consecutive sentences 'Wolf Hall')

2) The memorial to the Korean war will disconcert American visitors, but it is useful for understanding the war from a Chinese point of view (The Economist)

What would happen to the meaning if I use 'abash' here? The memorial to the Korean war will abash American visitors, but it is useful for understanding the war from a Chinese point of view.

3) Africa's lack of development never ceases to abash me, with a population of more than 1 Billion and the world's fastest growing middle class... (The Economist)

Africa's lack of development never ceases to disconcert me, with a population of more than 1 Billion and the world's fastest growing middle class...

Thank you!
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Abash" carries the idea of embarrassment rather than of being upset (disconcerted). The meaning is not all that close. You can try looking at both verbs by clicking on "in context" below their WR dictionary entries.

    As Mantel has used them, the verbs aren't synonyms; they're used for amusing alliteration as the Cardinal plays with words.
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "Abash" carries the idea of embarrassment rather than of being upset (disconcerted). The meaning is not all that close. You can try looking at both verbs by clicking on "in context" below their WR dictionary entries.

    As Mantel has used them, the verbs aren't synonyms; they're used for amusing alliteration as the Cardinal plays with words.
    Thank you very much :) Yes, I've tried to look for 'abash' in context search but no results :) Only The Economist showed the one :)
     
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