[ dis-mey ]
See synonyms for: dismaydismayeddismaying on Thesaurus.com

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.

  1. to alarm; perturb: The new law dismayed some of the more conservative politicians.

  1. sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.

  2. sudden disillusionment.

  1. agitation of mind; perturbation; alarm.

Origin of dismay

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English desmay (noun), de(s)mayen, dismayen (verb), from presumed Anglo-French alteration, by prefix change, of Old French esmaier “to trouble, frighten,” from unattested Vulgar Latin exmagāre “to disable, deprive of strength,” equivalent to ex- ex-1 + unattested magāre, from unattested Germanic magan “to be able to”; see may1

synonym study For dismay

1. See discourage.

Other words for dismay

Opposites for dismay

Other words from dismay

  • dis·may·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby dismay

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use dismay in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dismay


/ (dɪsˈmeɪ) /

  1. to fill with apprehension or alarm

  2. to fill with depression or discouragement

  1. consternation or agitation

Origin of dismay

C13: from Old French desmaiier (unattested), from des- dis- 1 + esmayer to frighten, ultimately of Germanic origin; see may 1

Derived forms of dismay

  • dismaying, adjective

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