verb dis·com·fit \ dis-ˈkəm(p)-fət , especially Southern ˌdis-kəm-ˈfit \
|Updated on: 25 Jul 2018

Definition of discomfit

1 a archaic : to defeat in battle
  • the ground … strewn with the discomfited
  • —Stephen Crane
b : to frustrate the plans of : thwart
  • discomfit our foes
2 : to put into a state of perplexity and embarrassment : disconcert
  • was discomfited by the question


play \dis-ˈkəm(p)-fə-tiŋ-lē, ˌdīs-kəm-ˈfi-\ adverb

discomfit was our Word of the Day on 03/29/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of discomfit in a Sentence

  1. constant interruptions discomfited her in her attempt to finish the speech, and she finally gave up

  2. he was discomfited by the awkward situation of having his ex-girlfriend meet his current one

Recent Examples of discomfit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discomfit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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.

Origin and Etymology of discomfit

Middle English, from Anglo-French descumfit, past participle of descumfire, from des- dis- + cumfire to prepare — more at comfit

Synonym Discussion of discomfit

embarrass, discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle mean to distress by confusing or confounding. embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action.
    • The question embarrassed her so much she couldn't answer
discomfit implies a hampering or frustrating accompanied by confusion.
    • Hecklers discomfited the speaker
abash presupposes some initial self-confidence that receives a sudden check, producing shyness, shame, or a feeling of inferiority.
    • abashed by her swift and cutting retort
disconcert implies an upsetting of equanimity or assurance producing uncertainty or hesitancy.
    • disconcerted by finding so many in attendance
rattle implies an agitation that impairs thought and judgment.
    • rattled by all the television cameras




Definition of discomfit

: the state of being confused, embarrassed, or upset : discomfiture

Origin and Etymology of discomfit

DISCOMFIT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of discomfit for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) confused or upset

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up discomfit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


resembling the blue of the sky

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!