dis·​com·​fit | \ dis-ˈkəm(p)-fət How to pronounce discomfit (audio) , especially Southern ˌdis-kəm-ˈfit\
discomfited; discomfiting; discomfits

Definition of discomfit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a 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



Definition of discomfit (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from discomfit


discomfitingly \ dis-​ˈkəm(p)-​fə-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce discomfitingly (audio) , ˌdīs-​kəm-​ˈfi-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for discomfit

Synonyms: Verb

baffle, balk, beat, checkmate, foil, frustrate, thwart

Antonyms: Verb

advance, cultivate, encourage, forward, foster, further, nurture, promote

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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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.

Examples of discomfit in a Sentence


constant interruptions discomfited her in her attempt to finish the speech, and she finally gave up he was discomfited by the awkward situation of having his ex-girlfriend meet his current one

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is a discomfiting development since such yield-curve inversions have preceded past recessions. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "What’s Behind Collapsing Bond Yields," 25 Mar. 2019 Down is so revered — and why the combination of rabbits and perpetual dread is so discomfiting. Aja Romano, Vox, "Netflix’s new Watership Down proves the beloved children’s classic was a horror story all along," 30 Dec. 2018 Plus, Perdita Weeks is compulsively watchable as Scarlett, the alchemy student who brings a documentary crew and ex-boyfriend in tow, and the hellish final act is appropriately bizarre and discomfiting. Dylan Scott, Vox, "13 found-footage horror movies actually worth watching this Halloween," 19 Oct. 2018 John Marshall, the most significant chief justice in the court’s history, was appointed by President John Adams in the dying weeks of Adams’s administration specifically to discomfit the incoming president, Thomas Jefferson. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "Kavanaugh May Be the Democrats’ Waterloo," 5 Oct. 2018 The only senators who may be discomfited by the choice of Kavanaugh are Democrats in tough re-election races, most of whom won their seats after he was last confirmed by the Senate. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump goes full establishment with Supreme Court pick," 10 July 2018 Casual encounters with strange men are discomfiting to many Saudi women. Margaret Coker, New York Times, "Saudi Women Can Drive, but Here’s the Real Roadblock," 22 June 2018 Finding out apparently sounds like superpowered air conditioning, or a minor second chord played as a quiet, discomfiting soundtrack. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double," 12 July 2018 Beautifully shot in an aspect ratio that makes the image square (as opposed to the usual rectangle), the film is at first discomfiting. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "Review: ‘First Reformed’ a major comeback for director Paul Schrader," 7 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of discomfit


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for discomfit

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for discomfit

Last Updated

16 May 2019

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Time Traveler for discomfit

The first known use of discomfit was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for discomfit



English Language Learners Definition of discomfit

formal : to make (someone) confused or upset

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Comments on discomfit

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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