Word of the Day

discomfit

audio pronunciation
March 29, 2015
verb
\diss-KUM-fit\
Definition
1
: to frustrate the plans of : thwart
2
: to put into a state of perplexity and embarrassment : disconcert
Examples
Jacob was discomfited by his curious young son's forward, probing questions.

"For more than two decades, the work of this British artist has dazzled and discomfited, seduced and unsettled, gliding effortlessly between high and low, among cultures, ricocheting off different racial stereotypes and religious beliefs." — Roberta Smith, New York Times, October 31, 2014
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Did You Know?
Disconcerted by discomfit and discomfort? Here's a little usage history that might help. Several usage commentators have, in the past, tried to convince their readers that discomfit means "to rout" or "to completely defeat" and not "to discomfort, embarrass, or make uneasy." In its earliest uses discomfit did in fact mean "to defeat in battle," but that sense is now rare, and the extended sense, "to thwart," is also uncommon. Most of the recent commentaries agree that the sense "to discomfort or disconcert" has become thoroughly established and is the most prevalent meaning of the word. There is one major difference between discomfit and discomfort, though—discomfit is used almost exclusively as a verb, while discomfort is much more commonly used as a noun than a verb.

Test Your Vocabulary: What word is the name of a bovid and a verb meaning "to bewilder" or "to baffle"? The answer is …
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