Could anyone please tell me what's the difference in meaning between the words 'shameless' and 'unashamed'?


1 Answer 1


unashamed is the negative of ashamed meaning not feeling shame, embarassment, etc.

shameless means not having any sense of shame, modesty, etc.

So you could be ashamed or (the opposite) unashamed, but if you are shameless you do not care about embarrassment, shame, modesty etc.

  • 3
    "unashamed" has the connotation of being related to a particular event or action that might cause a person to be ashamed. "shameless" can refer to a person's attitude about everything, or be limited to a person's attitude toward a particular kind of activity. For example, "shameless self-promotion" is a valid phrase; it means that the person does not have any sense of shame about self-promoting activities, but does not say anything about whether they have a sense of shame about other activities.
    – Jasper
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 0:19
  • thank you both for answering. Jasper, your explanation was pretty helpful and made it clear to me :)
    – Mila
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 1:04
  • I've just asked my English teacher about this, and she added that a person can be 'shameless' only because of their own attitude and behavior, whereas a person who feels '(un)ashamed' doesn't necessarily have to be the agent but could also feel like that because of other people's actions.
    – Mila
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 15:12
  • Actually, being 'shameless' is connected with others in a wider sense, since it's the society that decides what sort of behavior contributes to identifying shamelessness, but that's not the point :)
    – Mila
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 15:29

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