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

The higher stock price, however, could discourage some bidders. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, "Papa John’s Loses a Potential Bidder," 27 Nov. 2018 In an effort to discourage drunk driving, the country's Supreme Court ruled that alcohol cannot be sold within 500 meters (about a third of a mile) of any state or national highway. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Pass Through a Maze to Enter This Bar in India? Challenge Accepted," 16 July 2018 First, lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded, and second, lay down a thick-enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Mulch Your Garden and Stop Weeds in Their Tracks," 26 June 2018 The pervasive fear that asking for help reveals mental weakness – even moral decay – discourages many residents of the Mountain West from receiving treatment. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Mountain West, how frontier ethos magnifies problem of suicide," 14 June 2018 The California Association of Realtors discourages pocket listings. Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, "Pacific Union will give public a peek at its private listings," 23 May 2018 The Arizona Game and Fish Department discourages people from trying to treat or domesticate wild animals. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Firefighters in Gilbert and Scottsdale did their part to save ducks across the Valley," 10 May 2018 Such bureaucracy discourages people from signing up in the first place and breeds resentment from those just above the cutoff. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, "A New Deal for Day Care," 1 May 2018 For Freddy Bouchet, who studies turbulence at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Lyon, France, this isn’t too discouraging, since the two-dimensional models can still help. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 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

4 Dec 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

What made you want to look up discourage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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