verb (used with object)

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

1275–1325; Middle English desmay (noun), de(s)mayen, dismayen (v.) < presumed AF alteration, by prefix change, of Old French esmaier to trouble, frighten < Vulgar Latin *exmagāre to disable, deprive of strength, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + *magāre < Germanic *magan to be able to; see may1
Related formsdis·mayed·ness [dis-meyd-nis, -mey-id-] /dɪsˈmeɪd nɪs, -ˈmeɪ ɪd-/, noundis·may·ing·ly, adverbun·dis·mayed, adjective

Synonyms for dismay

1. appall, terrify, frighten, scare, intimidate, disconcert. See discourage. 4. consternation, terror, panic, horror, fear.

Antonyms for dismay

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

Examples from the Web for undismayed

Historical Examples of undismayed

  • But the great man presented to him a calm and undismayed face.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • For all that, he stood his ground not a whit the less resolutely, and looked on undismayed.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Mr. Caryll proceeded, undismayed, to make good his accusation.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • “Oh, I know what Uncle Charlie will say,” replied the lad, undismayed.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks

  • “And she has other good stories, too, you ought to hear,” continued Nan undismayed.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

British Dictionary definitions for undismayed


verb (tr)

to fill with apprehension or alarm
to fill with depression or discouragement


consternation or agitation
Derived Formsdismaying, adjective

Word Origin for dismay

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

1610s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of 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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper