dis·​com·​bob·​u·​late ˌdis-kəm-ˈbä-b(y)ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce discombobulate (audio)
discombobulated; discombobulating; discombobulates

transitive verb

: to cause to be in a state of confusion : upset, disorient
… inventing cool new ways to discombobulate the old order.Kurt Andersen
Executives of other NHL clubs are hopping mad at St. Louis president Jack Quinn and general manager Ron Caron for once again discombobulating the NHL's salary structure.Austin Murphy
… his determination to discombobulate the bourgeoise was not regarded as a joke.George Levine
see also discombobulated
discombobulating adjective
If it has been an unsettling season for all NFL players, it has been absolutely discombobulating for the Raiders … Ron Fimrite
Penn sent a discombobulating array of material to incoming freshmen over the summer. Ben Adler
discombobulation noun
A winding drive through the rural areas, twisting and turning to the point of discombobulation, until, emerging around a final left turn, a clearing presents itself. Micah Redfield

Example Sentences

our grandmother seems a bit discombobulated by all of this birthday fuss
Recent Examples on the Web UConn made 17-of-28 shots in the first half for a 46-29 lead and fired with a 30-point margin early in the second half before Arkansas’ full-court press discombobulated the Huskies for a few possessions. Richard Morin, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2023 Meantime, the Spartans looked completely discombobulated on offense, with errant passes, flying wide and disrupting the flow. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 22 Feb. 2023 And ceremonies often deliberately discombobulate initiates, especially the ones who don’t know they’re being inducted. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 23 Jan. 2022 To completely discombobulate him, someone like me heaving all over him with lips and eyes and bosom, to turn this nerd. Vulture, 29 Dec. 2022 Authorities said a beam of light aimed at an aircraft could discombobulate and even temporarily blind the pilot in the cockpit. Matt Bruce, ajc, 30 July 2022 Scientists have known for years about bony fish, sharks, worms, jellies, corals, and other marine creatures that light up to attract mates, lure prey, or discombobulate predators. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 24 Aug. 2021 These molecular tests search the genomic manuscript with about as much precision as the Ctrl+F function on a computer, which means that even single-letter typos—that is, simple RNA mutations—can discombobulate them. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 7 June 2021 The café owner known only as Fleabag attends a family dinner at which a wedding is discussed, alcoholism is confronted, and pregnancies are miscarried—all in the space of a few discombobulating minutes. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 4 May 2020 See More

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

Word History


probably alteration of discompose

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of discombobulate was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near discombobulate

Cite this Entry

“Discombobulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discombobulate. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​com·​bob·​u·​late ˌdis-kəm-ˈbäb-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce discombobulate (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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