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verb (used with object), frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing.
  1. to make (plans, efforts, etc.) worthless or of no avail; defeat; nullify: The student's indifference frustrated the teacher's efforts to help him.
  2. to disappoint or thwart (a person): a talented woman whom life had frustrated.
verb (used without object), frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing.
  1. to become frustrated: His trouble is that he frustrates much too easily.
  1. Obsolete. frustrated.

Origin of frustrate

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin frustrātus, past participle of frustrārī, verbal derivative of frustrā in vain
Related formsfrus·trat·er, nounfrus·trat·ing·ly, adverbfrus·tra·tive [fruhs-trey-tiv, -truh-] /ˈfrʌs treɪ tɪv, -trə-/, adjectivere·frus·trate, verb (used with object), re·frus·trat·ed, re·frus·trat·ing.

Synonyms for frustrate

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for frustrate

Contemporary Examples of frustrate

Historical Examples of frustrate

  • She turned to retreat, but the other two were there to frustrate her purpose.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • But there was always a Great Power to frustrate these designs.

  • Here is an opportunity to frustrate the authoritative (father) figure.

  • Did she, like the rest of them, suspect me of seeking to frustrate his suit by withholding his fortune?


    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Cleveland, baffled and frustrate, straightened up and shut off his cameras.


    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for frustrate


verb (tr)
  1. to hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of; thwart
  2. to upset, agitate, or tireher constant complaints began to frustrate him
  1. archaic frustrated or thwarted; baffled
Derived Formsfrustrater, noun

Word Origin for frustrate

C15: from Latin frustrāre to cheat, from frustrā in error
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 frustrate

mid-15c., from Latin frustratus, past participle of frustrari "to deceive, disappoint, frustrate," from frustra (adv.) "in vain, in error," related to fraus "injury, harm" (see fraud). Related: Frustrated; frustrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper