dis·​cour·​age | \ di-ˈskər-ij How to pronounce discourage (audio) , -ˈskə-rij \
discouraged; discouraging

Definition of discourage

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of courage or confidence : dishearten was discouraged by repeated failure
2a : to hinder by disfavoring trying to discourage absenteeism
b : to dissuade or attempt to dissuade from doing something tried to discourage her from going

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Other Words from discourage

discourageable \ di-​ˈskər-​i-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce discourage (audio) , -​ˈskə-​ri-​ \ adjective
discourager noun
discouragingly \ di-​ˈskər-​i-​jiŋ-​lē How to pronounce discourage (audio) , -​ˈkə-​ri-​ \ adverb

Examples of discourage in a Sentence

Try not to let losing discourage you. The area's dry climate discourages agriculture. He claims the new regulations will discourage investment. That type of behavior ought to be discouraged.
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Recent Examples on the Web Cultural shift needed Though China has a number of anti-discrimination laws, there are gaps that allow discrimination to continue, or that discourage women from pursuing justice, said the HRW report. Jessie Yeung And Nectar Gan, CNN, 5 June 2021 The debate in Washington, D.C., is about whether the government’s elevated benefits might discourage people from taking jobs that are available. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 4 June 2021 Henry Ford Health System's visitor rules vary for each of its hospitals and strongly discourage visitors who are at high risk for severe COVID-19, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2021 The hope is that these young people will bring the stories back to their networks and discourage others from picking up a weapon. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 May 2021 Some colleges discourage speakers from focusing too much on politics, Castel said. BostonGlobe.com, 18 May 2021 The differential between capital taxation and income taxation is necessary, the Journal’s new editorial says, to reward savings and discourage consumption. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 28 Apr. 2021 High-income taxable investors represent a small but significant share of the U.S. investor base, and raising their taxes would discourage investment, said John Diamond, a fellow in public finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2021 Leufer, the digital rights analyst, says rules could discourage certain areas of investment, shaping the course that the AI industry takes in the EU and elsewhere. Will Knight, Wired, 21 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discourage.' 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 discourage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for discourage

Middle English discoragen, from Middle French descorager, from Old French descoragier, from des- dis- + corage courage

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Time Traveler for discourage

Time Traveler

The first known use of discourage was in the 15th century

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Statistics for discourage

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discourage. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for discourage



English Language Learners Definition of discourage

: to make (someone) less determined, hopeful, or confident
: to make (something) less likely to happen
: to try to make people not want to do (something)


dis·​cour·​age | \ dis-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce discourage (audio) \
discouraged; discouraging

Kids Definition of discourage

1 : to make less determined, hopeful, or confident Yet another failed attempt didn't discourage him.
2 : to make less likely to happen The law discourages speeding.
3 : to try to persuade not to do something Don't let them discourage you from trying out.

Other Words from discourage

discouragement \ -​mənt \ noun


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