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

Other Words from discourage

discourageable \ di-​ˈskər-​i-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce discourage (audio) , -​ˈskə-​ri-​ \ adjective
discourager noun
discouragingly \ di-​ˈskər-​i-​jiŋ-​lē How to pronounce discourage (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 The news of the spike in the seven-day average comes as U.S. health officials discourage large New Year’s Eve gatherings. Washington Post, 31 Dec. 2021 The association encourages owners to put covers on or remove stove knobs as a safety measure and says owners should discourage their pets from interacting with a stove. Gawon Bae And Rhea Mogul, CNN, 30 Dec. 2021 But opponents say the plan would discourage restaurants that rely on drive-thrus from opening, especially in low-income neighborhoods. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Dec. 2021 As for the virus, nothing could be simpler than organizing the distribution of free masks and hand sanitizer outside polling places; this could be seen as a patriotic duty and would discourage scoundrels from acting against an awakened populace. John R. Macarthur, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 So, the 33-year-old Brown had the opportunity to display some maturity and leadership and discourage the two from this transgression. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 2 Dec. 2021 Experts also worry that the travel bans might discourage countries from searching for and reporting new variants. Danielle Echeverria, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 Representatives of the Indiana Medical Association, Indiana Hospital Association and other medical groups argued the proposal would discourage attempts to increase the state’s COVID vaccination rate and limit hospitalizations and deaths. Tom Davies, chicagotribune.com, 23 Nov. 2021 Congressional Democrats believe the Justice Department's prosecution of Bannon could discourage other witnesses from refusing their subpoenas. Ellis Kim, CBS News, 12 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for discourage

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near discourage

discount rate



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Statistics for discourage

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discourage. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on discourage

Nglish: Translation of discourage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discourage for Arabic Speakers


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