dis·​cour·​age | \ dis-ˈkər-ij , -ˈkə-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 \ dis-​ˈkər-​i-​jə-​bəl , -​ˈkə-​ri-​ \ adjective
discourager noun
discouragingly \ dis-​ˈkər-​i-​jiŋ-​lē , -​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

Women are hit with a double whammy: Not only is personal finance and investing rarely taught in schools or at home, but women are often discouraged from talking about or managing money. Ellen Sheng, Marie Claire, "Women Need to Think About Investing Differently Than Men," 30 Jan. 2019 Lightly rake the seeds into the soil, water well, and loosely cover with hay to discourage foraging birds and prevent rain from washing away the seeds. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Your Lawn Ready for Spring," 22 Jan. 2019 The increases were aimed at discouraging drivers from using fuels that burn emissions the government blames for climate change. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "‘Yellow Vest’ Protests Pit Rural France Against Macron," 26 Nov. 2018 Looming over the revenue discussion are questions about the impact of the tax, which proponents said would discourage soda consumption. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council scrutinizes mayor’s spending plan for larger-than-expected soda-tax proceeds," 22 Oct. 2018 His decision came after The New Yorker asked a series of questions for a story about his abusive behavior discouraging women from working as Linus-kernel programmers. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Amazon’s Alexa avalanche," 21 Sep. 2018 In any case, the policy of separating border-crossing children and parents isn’t mandated by law but is a discretionary option the Trump administration chose, with a view towards discouraging asylum seekers. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Imprisoning kids is ... biblical?," 15 June 2018 One way to discourage such shenanigans is to put election spending back in the hands of candidates and political parties. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Reid Hoffman’s Fake News," 11 Jan. 2019 Image From the moment it was announced in March, the decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census was described by critics as a ploy to discourage immigrants from filling out the form and improve Republican political fortunes. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Why Was a Citizenship Question Put on the Census? ‘Bad Faith,’ a Judge Suggests," 10 July 2018

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

Share discourage

Statistics for discourage

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discourage

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

See more words from the same century

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 \
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).


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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