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

Apple has quietly added a feature that discourages iPhone owners from using a third-party repair company to fix their batteries. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple Is Hobbling iPhones With Batteries Replaced Outside of Authorized Repair Shops. Is That Even Legal?," 9 Aug. 2019 Regulators might consider adding extra fees that discourage airlines from planning flight paths with a higher chance of creating contrails that have a warming effect, such as night flights over the ocean, Rosenow says. NBC News, "Do airplane contrails add to climate change? Yes, and the problem is about to get worse.," 28 July 2019 Election law experts have proposed changes that would discourage scam PACs by broadening anti-fraud provisions in federal election law or enacting an anti-self-dealing provision that prohibits PAC operators from turning an excessive profit. Derek Willis, ProPublica, "How Fundraisers Convinced Conservatives to Donate $10 Million — Then Kept Almost All of It.," 26 July 2019 To change the system, researchers need to address the social barriers that can discourage or prevent women from participating in clinical trials. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "25 years of women being underrepresented in medical research, in charts," 3 July 2019 That is why carcasses begin to smell bad soon after the animals die—microbes create noxious chemicals that discourage larger beings from stealing their food. Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Smithsonian, "How Do Fossils Form?," 8 June 2019 Beyond the sheer lack of high numbers of Black mental health professionals in the field, there’s also a longstanding stigma that discourages Black people from seeking help in the first place. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Taraji P. Henson Gives An Emotional Testimony To Congress On Mental Health Among Black Youth: 'This Is A National Crisis'," 7 June 2019 The Justice Department, which Barr leads, operates under guidelines that discourage the indictment of a sitting president. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Michigan GOP congressman says Trump conduct is ‘impeachable’," 19 May 2019 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday asked for comment on eliminating regulatory and other barriers that may be discouraging interstate sales, a request that often means guidance or new regulation will follow. ... Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Trump Administration Looks to Jump Start Interstate Health-Insurance Sales," 6 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for discourage

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for discourage

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

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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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Comments on discourage

What made you want to look up discourage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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