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 discourageable (audio) , -​ˈskə-​ri-​ \ adjective
discourager noun
discouragingly \ di-​ˈskər-​i-​jiŋ-​lē How to pronounce discouragingly (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 Before the internet, parents could discourage their kids from spending time with bad influences by monitoring their whereabouts. Avriel Epps-darling, The Atlantic, "How the Racism Baked Into Technology Hurts Teens," 24 Oct. 2020 Some fear that Florida’s request that counties purge some ineligible voters and place guards at mail ballot drop boxes could discourage or confuse voters. Rachel Glickhouse, ProPublica, "Electionland 2020: Polling Place Safety, Misinformation, Mask Issues and More," 23 Oct. 2020 The writers discourage the use of school closures to address future waves of COVID-19 for various reasons. Michael D. Lemonick, Scientific American, "Coronavirus News Roundup, October 17-October 23," 23 Oct. 2020 The scale and complexity of the climate problem also discourage thinking about it. Robert Kunzig, National Geographic, "Let’s not waste this crucial moment: We need to stop abusing the planet," 13 Oct. 2020 But the Biden campaign hadn’t supplied organizers with literature about the Presidential election, aiming to discourage them from taking it upon themselves to head out into neighborhoods on their own. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, "Does Door-Knocking Matter?," 6 Oct. 2020 Cincinnati wanted to establish the running game Saturday against South Florida, and an early fumble by Gerrid Doaks didn't discourage them from having the senior running back carry the load. Jeff Wallner, Star Tribune, "No. 15 Cincinnati rolls past South Florida, 28-7," 3 Oct. 2020 Don’t let misses discourage you, and let the pellets fly. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The 10 Toughest Shots in Wingshooting and How to Make Them," 21 Sep. 2020 That’s a behavior forest officials want to discourage as crowds return. oregonlive, "First look at the new Multnomah Falls, reopened with coronavirus precautions in place," 12 Aug. 2020

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

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discourage. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for discourage


How to pronounce discourage (audio)

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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Comments on discourage

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