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  1. failing to fulfill one's hopes or expectations: a disappointing movie; a disappointing marriage.
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Origin of disappointing

First recorded in 1520–30; disappoint + -ing2
Related formsdis·ap·point·ing·ly, adverbun·dis·ap·point·ing, adjective


verb (used with object)
  1. to fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of: His gross ingratitude disappointed us.
  2. to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate: to be disappointed in love.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to bring or cause disappointment.
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Origin of disappoint

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Middle French word desappointer. See dis-1, appoint
Related formsdis·ap·point·er, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for disappointing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then he would have the double satisfaction of using the boat and disappointing Robert.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The issue was, however, disappointing to him in the extreme.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But for what he had heard he would have found them disappointing.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • It is a disappointing reversion to the primitive, I must admit.

  • You may be sure of one thing: if our troops are waiting for them, they have no intention of disappointing us.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for disappointing


  1. failing to meet one's expectations, hopes, desires, or standards
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Derived Formsdisappointingly, adverb


verb (tr)
  1. to fail to meet the expectations, hopes, desires, or standards of; let down
  2. to prevent the fulfilment of (a plan, intention, etc); frustrate; thwart
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Word Origin

C15 (originally meaning: to remove from office): from Old French desapointier; see dis- 1, appoint
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 disappointing



early 15c., "dispossess of appointed office," from Middle French desappointer (14c.) "undo the appointment, remove from office," from des- (see dis-) + appointer "appoint" (see appoint).

Modern sense of "to frustrate expectations" (late 15c.) is from secondary meaning of "fail to keep an appointment." Related: Disappointed; disappointing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper