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

While Microsoft has been discouraging Slack use internally, and even banning the free version, Slack hasn’t been sitting still. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft Teams overtakes Slack with 13 million daily users," 11 July 2019 The traction Perot achieved certainly didn’t discourage future tycoons. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Ross Perot's political legacy: Clinton, populism, Trump and the tea party," 9 July 2019 The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages children from caffeine consumption, citing blood pressure and heart-rate effects as well as sleep problems and headaches. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Big Dairy is trying to get teens hooked on lattes to boost milk sales," 2 July 2019 In later years, Kipling never discouraged readers from finding in the Jungle Books a political allegory. Charles Mcgrath, The New Yorker, "Rudyard Kipling in America," 1 July 2019 To prevent violence from breaking out (and frankly, discourage attendance), locals got a court order to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol at the event, reports Deutsche Welle. The Christian Science Monitor, "What really makes us what we are?," 25 June 2019 Google stopped its employees from using Microsoft Windows a decade ago, also citing security issues, and Microsoft discouraged use of the Apple iPhone early in the smartphone era. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Why Microsoft's Ban of Rival Slack May Be a Mistake—Data Sheet," 24 June 2019 Officials discouraged motorists from using the narrow, gravel Skilak Lake Road as a highway alternative. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "State warns of continued wildfire-related road delays on Kenai Peninsula Sunday," 23 June 2019 Google quickly issued a statement denying the alleged misuse, which Genius complains is discouraging users from visiting its site. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Google Defends How It Sources Song Lyrics: 'We Do Not Crawl or Scrape Websites'," 18 June 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

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


something desired as essential

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