dis·​af·​fect ˌdis-ə-ˈfekt How to pronounce disaffect (audio)
disaffected; disaffecting; disaffects

transitive verb

: to alienate the affection or loyalty of
also : to fill with discontent and unrest
disaffection noun
Choose the Right Synonym for disaffect

estrange, alienate, disaffect mean to cause one to break a bond of affection or loyalty.

estrange implies the development of indifference or hostility with consequent separation or divorcement.

his estranged wife

alienate may or may not suggest separation but always implies loss of affection or interest.

managed to alienate all his coworkers

disaffect refers especially to those from whom loyalty is expected and stresses the effects (such as rebellion or discontent) of alienation without actual separation.

troops disaffected by hunger

Examples of disaffect in a Sentence

the troops were disaffected by the extension of their tours of duty
Recent Examples on the Web The year before, disaffected Republican voters in central Virginia defeated the House majority leader Eric Cantor, an oligarch if ever there was one, in a primary upset. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, 10 Oct. 2022 Though many fans have turned their backs on the mope-rocker for his baffling anti-immigrant stance, many more have tucked their heads into the sand to hold onto the moody, disaffected lyrics that so explained our teenaged selves to us. Michelle Tea, Harper's BAZAAR, 7 Mar. 2023 Palm Trees is the kind of movie in which young women like Lea and her best friend, Katie, are inclined to be cool enough, disaffected enough, for the boys who don’t really care about them — who would flee at the first sight of complication — to want to keep them around. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 2 Mar. 2023 Sanders-Warren backers see Mr. Trump as a symptom of deeper woes, of the desperation of long-struggling voters disaffected by the recent economic prescriptions of both parties. Jacob M. Schlesinger, WSJ, 30 Jan. 2020 Dina Litovsky for The New York Times Here’s at least one sign that some young adults are disaffected with dating apps. Jennifer Miller, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2019 Yang has honed in on a message of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, touted the need for a nationwide universal basic income and boasted about his ability to reach voters who have become disaffected by national politics. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, 13 Dec. 2019 One danger for the prime minister is that on election day conservative voters disaffected by the looming corruption charges could abandon him for other right-wing parties, or for an opposition bloc. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2019 And that adds to its appeal for supporters disaffected from the moneyed elites who run the former British colony, organizers say. Christopher Bodeen, chicagotribune.com, 18 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disaffect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disaffect was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near disaffect

Cite this Entry

“Disaffect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disaffect. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​af·​fect ˌdis-ə-ˈfekt How to pronounce disaffect (audio)
: to lose the affection or loyalty of : cause discontent in
the troops were disaffected
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