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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, pays for those buses as a way to discourage traffic at the airport. BostonGlobe.com, "Is an era of fare-free buses coming to Boston?," 30 Apr. 2021 Germany has implemented spot checks at its borders with France, Denmark and Poland to discourage unauthorized travel. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Europe Aims to Let American Travelers In While Keeping Covid-19 at Bay," 26 Apr. 2021 Officials have extended the mandatory hotel quarantine measures — originally intended to discourage spring break travel — until at least May 21, Reuters noted. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Canada and U.S. Land Border Closure Extended for Non-essential Travel Another Month," 21 Apr. 2021 The country has recovered from outbreaks that led officials to discourage travel over the Lunar New Year holiday period in February. CNN, "Traveling to China during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go," 16 Apr. 2021 Spring break began Monday after the province postponed it in March to discourage travel during the pandemic. Rob Gillies, Star Tribune, "All schools in Ontario to shut and go to online learning," 12 Apr. 2021 Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday kicked off a broad review of the government’s oil and gas program that could lead to a long-term ban on leases or other steps to discourage drilling and reduce emissions. Matthew Brown, Fortune, "It’s time to put a price on carbon, America’s top oil and gas lobbying group says," 26 Mar. 2021 Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday kicked off a broad review of the government’s oil and gas program that could lead to a long-term ban on leases or other steps to discourage drilling and reduce emissions. Matthew Daly, Anchorage Daily News, "In a reversal, the oil industry’s top lobbying group now supports a federal price on carbon emissions," 26 Mar. 2021 But people experiencing homelessness recognize the designs as a way to discourage those without homes from tent camping in certain areas or sleeping in public parks. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "How city design limits the homeless from camping, sleeping in public spaces in Salt Lake City," 21 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about discourage

Time Traveler for discourage

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for discourage

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discourage. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!