frus·​trate | \ ˈfrə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce frustrate (audio) \
frustrated; frustrating

Definition of frustrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to balk or defeat in an endeavor frustrated her opponents by her ball-handling
b : to induce feelings of discouragement in Not being able to find a job frustrated him.
2a(1) : to make ineffectual : bring to nothing Illness frustrated his plans for college.
(2) : impede, obstruct The project was frustrated by government regulations.
b : to make invalid or of no effect



Definition of frustrate (Entry 2 of 2)

: characterized by frustration

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Synonyms & Antonyms for frustrate

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for frustrate


frustrate, thwart, foil, baffle, balk mean to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal. frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent. frustrated attempts at government reform thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing. the army thwarted his attempt at a coup foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort. foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling. baffled by the maze of rules and regulations balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances. officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime

Examples of frustrate in a Sentence

Verb It frustrated him to miss so many games because of injuries. We've been frustrated by bureaucratic delays. Bureaucratic delays have frustrated our efforts to resolve this problem. The lack of investors has frustrated them in their efforts to expand the company.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Experts say delays for a contract can frustrate such union campaigns and undermine employee confidence in organized labor. Haleluya Hadero, ajc, 24 Apr. 2022 Still, the move is likely to frustrate climate proponents who had called for Biden to eliminate them a year ago after his inauguration. Time, 4 Feb. 2022 And yet, for all the ways Zoom can frustrate conversational overlap, there are some advantages. Washington Post, 10 May 2021 The Bruins can frustrate a free-flowing offense by doing little things like taking charges and playing with a bruising style. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2021 But if Western leaders can frustrate Zelensky, Russians send him careering toward despair. Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic, 15 Apr. 2022 In a move that will frustrate Washington, India’s central bank is exploring a trade arrangement with Moscow that would use only Indian rupees and Russian rubles, bypassing Western sanctions, according to the Financial Times and other media. NBC News, 19 Mar. 2022 In the last game of the first round, look for TCU to frustrate Seton Hall with a slow tempo and strong defense. Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2022 The clusters of vibrating dots confuse and frustrate almost everyone. Amanda Chicago Lewis, Wired, 15 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There are a few common barriers to execution that frustrate workers, and even now - two decades into the digital transformation - countless enterprises still struggle to overcome them. Andrew Filev, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frustrate.' 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 frustrate


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for frustrate

Verb and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin frustratus, past participle of frustrare to deceive, frustrate, from frustra in error, in vain

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Time Traveler for frustrate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for frustrate

Last Updated

4 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Frustrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for frustrate


frus·​trate | \ ˈfrə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce frustrate (audio) \
frustrated; frustrating

Kids Definition of frustrate

1 : to cause to feel angry or discouraged The delays frustrated passengers.
2 : to prevent from succeeding Police frustrated the robbery.
3 : defeat entry 1 sense 2 The bad weather frustrated their plans for the beach.


transitive verb
frus·​trate | \ ˈfrəs-ˌtrāt How to pronounce frustrate (audio) \
frustrated; frustrating

Medical Definition of frustrate

: to induce feelings of frustration in


transitive verb
frus·​trate | \ ˈfrəs-ˌtrāt How to pronounce frustrate (audio) \
frustrated; frustrating

Legal Definition of frustrate

: to make invalid or ineffectual : defeat the remedial purposes of the Workers' Compensation Act should not be frustrated by rigid technical standardsPalmer v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 559 A.2d 340 (1989)

More from Merriam-Webster on frustrate

Nglish: Translation of frustrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frustrate for Arabic Speakers


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