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dismay

[dis-mey]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt: The surprise attack dismayed the enemy.
  2. to surprise in such a manner as to disillusion: She was dismayed to learn of their disloyalty.
  3. to alarm; perturb: The new law dismayed some of the more conservative politicians.
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noun
  1. sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.
  2. sudden disillusionment.
  3. agitation of mind; perturbation; alarm.
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Origin of dismay

1275–1325; Middle English desmay (noun), de(s)mayen, dismayen (v.) < presumed AF alteration, by prefix change, of Old French esmaier to trouble, frighten < Vulgar Latin *exmagāre to disable, deprive of strength, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + *magāre < Germanic *magan to be able to; see may1
Related formsdis·mayed·ness [dis-meyd-nis, -mey-id-] /dɪsˈmeɪd nɪs, -ˈmeɪ ɪd-/, noundis·may·ing·ly, adverbun·dis·mayed, adjective

Synonyms

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1. appall, terrify, frighten, scare, intimidate, disconcert. See discourage. 4. consternation, terror, panic, horror, fear.

Antonyms

1. hearten. 4. confidence.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dismay

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The other canon shook his head in dismay at such arrant folly.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • They are barren, till the imagination has tenanted them with possibilities of danger and dismay.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Harriett had a little shock of dismay and resentment, hating change.

  • Sidney examined with some dismay the elaborate negligee garments in her hand.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He took chances and got away with them, laughing at the girl's gasps of dismay.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart


British Dictionary definitions for dismay

dismay

verb (tr)
  1. to fill with apprehension or alarm
  2. to fill with depression or discouragement
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noun
  1. consternation or agitation
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Derived Formsdismaying, adjective

Word Origin

C13: from Old French desmaiier (unattested), from des- dis- 1 + esmayer to frighten, ultimately of Germanic origin; see may 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dismay

v.

late 13c., dismaien, from Old French *desmaier (attested only in past participle dismaye), from Latin de- intensive prefix + Old French esmaier "to trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exmagare "divest of power or ability" (source of Italian smagare "to weaken, dismay, discourage"), from ex- (see ex-) + Germanic stem *mag- "power, ability" (cf. Old High German magen "to be powerful or able;" see may (v.)). Spanish desmayer "to be dispirited" is a loan word from Old French. Related: Dismayed; dismaying.

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n.

c.1300, from dismay (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper