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

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



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 discomfit (audio) , ˌdīs-​kəm-​ˈfi-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for discomfit

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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

Verb 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 Singapore’s long reliance on a vast underclass of cheap labor from places like India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar has discomfited some Singaporeans. Hannah Beech, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2020 An equally discomfiting element of the later books is what happens to Meg. Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books, 25 Feb. 2020 But in these packages, and in live broadcasts, the editing is meticulous, omitting anything that might discomfit the N.F.L.’s brass and team owners. Jody Rosen, New York Times, 12 Dec. 2019 The discomfiting fiction lends its name to a new exhibition of Kehinde Wiley’s work at the William Morris Gallery in London. The Economist, 28 Feb. 2020 Lange endured a fractious relationship with Stryker, who seemed deeply discomfited by a strong-minded woman. Arthur Lubow, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 All is provisional — a discomfiting proposition at first, but ultimately a relief. Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2019 The fictional Yaakov, whose voiceover narration helps delineate many of the plot points, is such a dynamic central character that viewers will likely relate to his passion even if becoming discomfited by the sometimes inflammatory populist rhetoric. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 June 2019 The contemporary allusion is no less discomfiting for being so broadly drawn. Wendy Smith, BostonGlobe.com, 8 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 2b


circa 1616, 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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Time Traveler for discomfit

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

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Cite this Entry

“Discomfit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discomfit. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of discomfit

formal : to make (someone) confused or upset

More from Merriam-Webster on discomfit

Nglish: Translation of discomfit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discomfit for Arabic Speakers


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