[dih-skur-ij, -skuhr-]

verb (used with object), dis·cour·aged, dis·cour·ag·ing.

to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.
to dissuade (usually followed by from).
to obstruct by opposition or difficulty; hinder: Low prices discourage industry.
to express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon: to discourage the expression of enthusiasm.

verb (used without object), dis·cour·aged, dis·cour·ag·ing.

to become discouraged: a person who discourages easily.

Origin of discourage

1400–50; late Middle English discoragen < Middle French descorager, Old French descoragier. See dis-1, courage
Related formsdis·cour·ag·er, noundis·cour·age·a·ble, adjectivedis·cour·ag·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·dis·cour·age, verb (used with object), o·ver·dis·cour·aged, o·ver·dis·cour·ag·ing.pre·dis·cour·age, verb (used with object), pre·dis·cour·aged, pre·dis·cour·ag·ing.un·dis·cour·age·a·ble, adjectiveun·dis·cour·aged, adjectiveun·dis·cour·ag·ing, adjectiveun·dis·cour·ag·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for discourage

Synonym study

1. Discourage, dismay, intimidate mean to dishearten or frighten. To discourage is to dishearten by expressing disapproval or by suggesting that a contemplated action or course will probably fail: He was discouraged from going into business. To dismay is to dishearten completely: Her husband's philandering dismayed her. To intimidate is to frighten, as by threats of force, violence, or dire consequences: to intimidate a witness.

Antonyms for discourage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for discouraging

Contemporary Examples of discouraging

Historical Examples of discouraging

  • Low-lying alligator, evading the eyesight and discouraging hope!

  • Burnside's repulse at Fredericksburg was followed by a discouraging retreat.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • But it is so discouraging a thing to have my monitress so very good!

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Bitter taunts for the past, and discouraging views of the future?


    William D. Howells

  • And yet, when we wrote to our friends who were watching, their answer was most discouraging.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

British Dictionary definitions for discouraging


verb (tr)

to deprive of the will to persist in something
to inhibit; preventthis solution discourages rust
to oppose by expressing disapproval
Derived Formsdiscouragement, noundiscourager, noundiscouragingly, adverb
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 discouraging



mid-15c., discoragen, from Middle French descourager, from Old French descoragier, from des- "away" (see dis-) + corage (see courage). Related: Discouraged; discouragement; discouraging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper