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

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Other Words from discourage

discourageable \ -​jə-​bəl \ adjective
discourager noun
discouragingly \ -​jiŋ-​lē \ 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

Her mom, who had raised her children mostly alone on a clerical salary, tried to discourage her daughter’s artistic dreams and sent her to typing and accounting classes. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Stellaluna' author and artist celebrates 25th anniversary with exhibit," 1 July 2018 In state after state after state, Republican governments have made voting more cumbersome, in order to winnow out the disproportionately poor and minority voters who such restrictions would discourage from the hassle. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The Republican Court and the Era of Minority Rule," 27 June 2018 The browser will now also audit password reuse to try to discourage people from using the same password for multiple services—a crucial way consumers can reduce their risk of being impacted by data breaches. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Apple Just Made Safari the Good Privacy Browser," 4 June 2018 The move discouraging imports of U.S. sorghum widens the brewing trade war between Beijing and Washington. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "70-year-old man killed in west Alabama crash," 17 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration contends that the program violates international trade rules that prohibit countries from using subsidies to help exporters and discourage imports. Ana Swanson And Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Trump Doubles Down on Potential Trade War With China," 5 Apr. 2018 Ditto elaborated in her post that in every fight for equality, there were times when those fighting felt discouraged and beaten down. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Beth Ditto Responds to London Pride TERF Controversy With Inspiring Instagram Post: 'We Keep Trying'," 13 July 2018 Its scale threatens national security, discourages foreign investors and saps public services of funds. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Kenyans have had it with corruption. Their leaders may finally be doing something about it.," 13 July 2018 The controversy surrounding Joy and the awkward explanations likely discouraged some of her loyal fans. Brian Flood, Fox News, "MSNBC star Joy Reid loses 1 in 5 viewers following homophobic blog scandal," 13 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.

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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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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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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 \
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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