- to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt: The surprise attack dismayed the enemy.
- to surprise in such a manner as to disillusion: She was dismayed to learn of their disloyalty.
- to alarm; perturb: The new law dismayed some of the more conservative politicians.
- sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.
- sudden disillusionment.
- agitation of mind; perturbation; alarm.
Origin of dismay
SynonymsSee more synonyms for dismay on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dismay
The angsty, hazy mind of a teenager is a source of constant befuddlement and dismay for full-grown observers.Who Invented the ‘Teenager’?
March 14, 2014
And then there's a boy of about 16 (who, to my dismay, has no involvement in the show) wearing a hat made of aluminum foil.Backstage at the Razzie Awards, Honoring Hollywood’s Worst Films
March 2, 2014
What can we do except to throw up our hands in dismay at the baffling nature of life?Confessions of a Death Camp Collaborator: Claude Lanzmann’s ‘The Last of the Unjust’
February 7, 2014
The humility of Joseph to accept this news when most would have responded with incredulity and dismay.The True Gifts of Christmas Are Life, Love, and the Mystery of God
December 25, 2013
Most expressed discomfort or dismay over the whole spectacle.America’s Women Hate the Government Shutdown, Blame Republicans
October 3, 2013
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.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Sidney examined with some dismay the elaborate negligee garments in her hand.
He took chances and got away with them, laughing at the girl's gasps of dismay.
- to fill with apprehension or alarm
- to fill with depression or discouragement
- consternation or agitation
Word Origin and History for dismay
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.
c.1300, from dismay (v.).