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

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 Gary Police deputy chief Brian Evans told Common Council members recently that police are trying to figure out ways to discourage homeless people and other vagrants who congregate near businesses along Broadway from harassing would-be customers. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary police eye crackdown on vagrants near Broadway businesses," 2 July 2018 Over the past two election cycles, four California cities, led by Berkeley, have approved fees on sugary drinks intended to discourage consumption and raise money for public health programs. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "Soda tax ban for California cities heads to Jerry Brown," 28 June 2018 But excessive caution is discouraged: Not long after, players need to build enough speed to leap across the pool of molten lava at the mountain’s heart. Leif Johnson, PCWorld, "Check out this exclusive look at Guild Wars 2's jaw-dropping Infernal Leap roller beetle track," 26 Nov. 2018 Topical retinoids—vitamin A derivatives—including over the counter retinol, prescription Retin-A, and the acne topical Differin, are strongly discouraged during pregnancy. Jane Chertoff, SELF, "5 Acne Products That Are Safe to Use While Pregnant or Trying to Conceive," 12 Oct. 2018 We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments. Fortune, "Trump Administration Freezes Payments to Affordable Care Act Insurers with Sicker Patients," 8 July 2018 On the cusp of breaking into the mainstream Nick Goeser is not discouraged. Emily Hopkins, Cincinnati.com, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 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

16 Jan 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).


means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!