12 Best Ways To Say You're Embarrassed In Spanish

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    Written byJada Lòpez
    Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator
    🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada
    🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide

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12 Best Ways To Say You're Embarrassed In Spanish

If you’re looking for the best way to say embarrassed in Spanish, there are quite a few options for saying it.

Here you’ll learn a bunch of different ways to say you’re embarrassed to augment what you’ve learned in a Spanish course.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some examples.

Which phrase should you avoid when saying “embarrassed” in Spanish?

Before we get started, let’s clear one thing up:

Never say estoy embarazada if you intend to say “embarrassed” in Spanish.


The phrase estoy embarazada means “I am pregnant,” and the people you’re speaking to will most likely ask you a few questions or even say ¡felicidades!

It’s slightly ironic that saying estoy embarazada can cause you more embarrassment, but remember that this phrase doesn’t mean “embarrassed”!

With this in mind, let’s look at the key ways you can say “embarrassed” in Spanish.

How to say “embarrassed” in Spanish 😳

The most literal and straightforward way to say you’re embarrassed in Spanish is estoy avergonzado (estoy avergonzada for females).

This literally means “I’m embarrassed” or “I’m ashamed” and is from the verb avergonzar.

But there are the various other alternatives you can use to say “embarrassed” in Spanish which are listed below.

Which of these have you heard of and which are unfamiliar?

1. Qué vergüenza - What a shame!

Although it can also mean “how disgraceful!“, que vergüenza means “what a shame!“.

In this case, the word vergüenza means “shame” or “embarrassment.”

If you’re writing in Spanish, always use an accent mark on the word qué and a diaeresis on the letter ü in vergüenza.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Qué vergüenza, se cayó en la piscina.

How embarrassing, he fell in the swimming pool.

2. Qué pena - What a pity!

Qué pena can mean “that’s embarrassing,” “how embarrassing,” or “what a shame.”

You can use qué pena to say “what a pity” in other contexts.

Pena can mean “grief” as well, so you’ll hear native Spaniards saying qué pena when someone has lost something or someone.

As with qué vergüenza, don’t forget to use an accent mark on the word qué when writing.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Me olvidé de practicar el piano ayer. Qué pena.

I forgot to practice the piano yesterday. How embarrassing.

3. Disculpa - Sorry

If you want to say “sorry” in Spanish, you can use disculpa.

Disculpa also has a sense of shame attached to it, which is why it can also connote embarrassment.

In this sense, disculpa can mean “embarrassed” in Spanish.

You can use disculpa when apologizing to someone in an informal situation.

And if you’re in a formal situation, use disculpe.

Disculpa can also mean “excuse me.”

You can use it if you accidentally barge someone on public transport when trying to exit.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Disculpa, espero que esté bien.

How embarrassing. I hope you're okay.
Listen to audio

Disculpame, no te quería molestar.

Sorry, I didn't want to bother you.

4. No me di cuenta - I didn’t notice, (sorry)

When you bear the fault but are unaware that you have done something wrong, use no me di cuenta to express embarrassment, say “embarrassed” in Spanish, and that you’re sorry.

No me di cuenta means “I didn’t notice,” “I wasn’t aware,” or “I didn’t realize.”

It takes the past tense form, indicated by the Spanish verb di.

When you accompany this phrase with a tone that conveys remorse, this emphasizes that you’re apologizing. Add qué lástima to this phrase to show that you’re embarrassed.

Listen to audio

No me di cuenta que hoy es tu cumpleaños. ¡Qué lástima! Pues, felicidades.

I wasn't aware that today is your birthday. What a shame! Well, happy birthday.

5. Disculpe el inconveniente - Excuse the inconvenience

You’ll notice that this phrase contains the word disculpe, which I mentioned you could use in formal situations.

You should always reserve this phrase for people you don’t know or work colleagues.

Disculpe el inconveniente means “sorry for the inconvenience” or “excuse the inconvenience.”

If someone accidentally sends you the wrong parcel, you may hear them say disculpe el inconveniente.

Or, if you make a mistake at work, you can also use this phrase to share that you’re “embarrassed” in Spanish and apologize.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Disculpe el inconveniente, pero no le informé bien.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I didn't inform you well.

6. Qué bochorno - That was awkward / What an embarrassment!

If you’ve ever felt such embarrassment that you turn red and feel an increasing heat on your face, qué bochorno is the phrase you can use.

Bochorno, which you may remember since it contains the noun horno (oven), means boiling.

It means “what an embarrassment” when you translate it to English.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Saludé a un extraño que creía conocer y me tiró un beso.

I waved at a stranger that I thought I knew and he blew me a kiss.

7. Estar apenado/a - To be ashamed

If you want to choose a phrase with more emphasis than the phrase qué pena, use estar apenado/a.

It means “I’m ashamed.”

You’ll need to conjugate the verb estar to express that you’re the one feeling embarrassed, or if someone else is embarrassed, you can also make a different person the subject of the sentence.

For example, if you’re feeling embarrassed, use estoy apenado.

If your friend is feeling embarrassed or ashamed, use está apenado.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Olvidé el cumpleaños de mi sobrino. Estoy apenado.

I forgot my nephew's birthday. I'm ashamed.

8. Estar avergonzado/a - To be ashamed

I mentioned this one already.

You can use estar avergonzado similarly to the phrase estar apenado.

It also means “I am ashamed” or “I am embarrassed” when you conjugate the verb estar in the yo form.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Vine aquí porque estaba avergonzado.

I came here because I was embarrassed.
Listen to audio

Salí de la casa para coger aire porque estaba avergonzado.

I left the house to get some air because I was embarrassed.

9. Tener vergüenza - To have shame

This phrase is similar to the first phrase on the list qué vergüenza. The main difference between these phrases is that this phrase features the verb tener, which means “to have” in English.

Tener vergüenza means “to have shyness” or “to have shame.” When you conjugate the verb tener in this phrase, you can make other people the sentence’s subject. This conjugation is one of the other ways tener vergüenza is different from qué vergüenza.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Tuvieron vergüenza el año pasado porque no habían donado su ropa.

They were embarrassed last year because they hadn't donated their clothes.

10. Se me cae la cara de vergüenza - My head hangs in shame

Se me cae la cara de vergüenza is a reflexive phrase that means something gave you a lot of embarrassment or caused you to “hang your head in shame.”

You typically hear native speakers use this phrase when someone has done something that makes you embarrassed for them.

This phrase connotes blushing or feeling ashamed of oneself in other situations.

To tell someone how you felt due to a past event, you can also use the past tense of this phrase. Just use the phrase se me caía la cara de vergüenza.

If you want to make someone else the subject of the sentence, change the reflexive pronoun se me to se le (for he or she) and se te (for your).

Listen to audio

Cuando me olvidé de los deberes, se me caía la cara de vergüenza.

When I forgot my homework, my face fell in shame.

11. Incómodo - Awkward / uncomfortable

If there’s a particularly uncomfortable moment where there’s an awkward silence, use incómodo to express embarrassment or shame.

Incómodo is a Spanish adjective that means “embarrassed” or “uncomfortable.”

It can refer to a physical feeling of discomfort, in which case you can use the reflexive phrase encontrarse to express awkwardness.

But you can also use it to express embarrassment in Spanish.

Usage example:

Listen to audio

Eso fue un silencio incómodo. No quiero volver a la fiesta.

That was an embarrassed silence. I don't want to return to the party.
Listen to audio

Me encuentro incómodo. Todo el mundo está mirándome.

I feel uncomfortable. Everyone is looking at me.

12. Trágame tierra - Swallow me up, Earth! / Bury my head in shame!

In those moments where you want to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich - for embarrassing situations in particular - use trágame tierra to express such shame.

This phrase uses the imperative verb trágame, as if you’re ordering the tierra (that’s earth) to swallow you up.

The best time to use the phrase trágame tierra is in highly embarrassing situations, such as the example below:

Listen to audio

Había una cucaracha en la cocina y no me fijé cuando estaba cocinando para mi suegra. Trágame tierra.

There was a cockroach in the kitchen and I didn't notice when I was cooking for my mother-in-law. Earth, swallow me.

Practice saying “embarrassed” in Spanish to express your feelings

With this list, you’ll have no problem expressing embarrassment in Spanish.

The best way to remember how to say “embarrassed” in Spanish is to find opportunities to use these expressions to state your embarrassment.

As a new learner of Spanish, this might be quite often! 😊

Now it’s over to you.

Are there any other phrases that you use to say “embarrassed” in Spanish?

Comment below.

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