- Dismay is defined as a sudden or total loss of courage.
An example of dismay is feeling defeated after applying to dozens of jobs and being offered none of them.
- The definition of dismay is to ruin the courage of someone.
An example of dismay is to jump out of the bushes attacking a once brave passerby.
Origin of dismayMiddle English dismayen ; from Anglo-French an unverified form desmaier ; from des-, intensive + Old French esmayer, to deprive of power ; from Vulgar Latin an unverified form exmagare ; from Classical Latin ex-, from + Germanic base an unverified form mag, power: see main
transitive verbdis·mayed, dis·may·ing, dis·mays
- To cause to lose enthusiasm or resolution; disillusion or discourage: “young executives dismayed by the corporate ladder” (Peter Grose). See Synonyms at discourage.
- To upset or distress: “Parents may be dismayed by the mess from sand or paint spread around by the pair or group at play” (Elizabeth Noble).
Origin of dismayMiddle English dismaien, from Anglo-Norman *desmaiier : probably de-, intensive pref.; see de– + Old French esmaier, to frighten (from Vulgar Latin *exmagare, to deprive of power : Latin ex-, ex- + Germanic *magan, to be able to; see magh- in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present dismays, present participle dismaying, simple past and past participle dismayed)
- To disable with alarm or apprehensions; to depress the spirits or courage of; to deprive of firmness and energy through fear; to daunt; to appall; to terrify.
- To render lifeless; to subdue; to disquiet.
- To take dismay or fright; to be filled with dismay.
From Middle English dismayen, from Anglo-Norman *desmaiier, alteration of Old French esmaier (“to frighten”), from Vulgar Latin *exmagare (“to deprive (someone) of strength, to disable”), from ex- + *magare (“to enable, empower”), from Proto-Germanic *maginą, *maganą (“might, power”), from Proto-Indo-European *mēgh- (“to be able”). Akin to Old High German magan, megin (“power, might, main”), Old English mæġen (“might, main”), Old High German magan, mugan (“to be powerful, able”), Old English magan (“to be able”). More at main, may.