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 discomfitingly (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 In one of the game's discomfiting vignettes, Martin visits Daniel's grave as he is cremated. Julie Muncy, Wired, "This Indie Horror Game Made Me Confront My Fear of Death," 22 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, Powell’s star power with the American public discomfited his administration colleagues and conservative activists outside government. Heather Hurlburt, Washington Post, "Dick Cheney and Colin Powell: A contentious friendship and a world-defining debate," 17 Jan. 2020 Lively, unconventional and relentless about ferreting out news, Scruggs was valued for her reporting skills but occasionally discomfiting to her colleagues, some of whom chafed at her revealing clothing choices and her vulgarity. Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "'88 Days of Hell': The True Story of the Atlanta Olympic Bombing and the Wrongfully Suspected Hero at the Center," 1 Jan. 2020 The eighth episode—a flashback that revealed in excruciating detail how Mitch coerced a young booker, Hannah (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), into sleeping with him—was a discomfiting portrait of power at its most insidious. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "What Went Wrong With The Morning Show?," 21 Dec. 2019 What is an audience to make of these discomfiting encounters? Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘Slave Play’ is a funny, scalding, walk along the boundary between black and white in America," 6 Oct. 2019 Presumably, Tunisians are as discomfited by insects to the same degree as English people are. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "The Bugs of Volgograd: England-Tunisia Match Attracts Pests," 18 June 2018 Our nervous, shifting, rapidly progressing times deserve a clear look and full access to what came before, however discomfiting. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Disney Plus premieres a new ‘Lady and the Tramp.’ Maybe it helps to hate the ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Lion King’ remakes, but I kind of liked it.," 14 Nov. 2019 This pattern should discomfit Democrats and traditional Republicans alike. The Economist, "Democrats want impeachment hearings to change opinions on Donald Trump," 14 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discomfit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discomfitingly?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=disco02v. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for discomfit


How to pronounce discomfit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discomfit

formal : to make (someone) confused or upset

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