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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 frustrating

Contemporary Examples of frustrating

Historical Examples of frustrating

  • For her these pre-election days were discouraging and frustrating.

  • Just then I had to direct my energies to frustrating his plans.

  • This was how she had met her tragedy, but at that time she had good hope of frustrating it.


    Emily Hilda Young

  • Why will you choose so painful a remedy, by frustrating the easier?

  • Even now he is frustrating the tokens of the liars, and making diviners mad.


    Charles Kingsley

British Dictionary definitions for frustrating


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 frustrating



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