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

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

All is provisional — a discomfiting proposition at first, but ultimately a relief. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Sonic frequency as art? Enter Steve Roden’s captivating prisms of color," 17 Aug. 2019 On Scorpion, Drake confirmed the rumor and rapped several discomfiting lines about having fathered a child with the former adult film actor Sophie Brussaux. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Drake’s Troubling Reunion With Chris Brown," 30 July 2019 Mr Johnston’s creations are for the most part discomfiting, funny and idiosyncratic. D.b., The Economist, "James Johnston, a veteran rock musician, has blossomed as an artist," 29 July 2019 Trump is not the only one discomfited by the idea of Tubman on our currency. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Haunted Image of Harriet Tubman on the Twenty-Dollar Bill," 18 June 2019 What the Netflix show finds there is a nostalgic and often discomfiting reflection of our own socioeconomic moment. latimes.com, "Today: Trump’s Envoy of Discord in Israel," 9 July 2019 But the resulting work, chronicling events in a Parisian nocturnal demimonde of the recent past from the point of view of a club deejay, is vivid and discomfiting: The bartender from the Kat calls me one morning, late, drunk. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 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, "'The Unorthodox': Film Review," 14 June 2019 Rivkin spends a significant amount of time noting the discomfiting elision and erasure of Twombly’s sexuality in the many catalogues and chronologies of his work. Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 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


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

19 Sep 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 wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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