Origin of 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.
Middle English dismaien from Anglo-Norman desmaiier probably de- intensive pref. de– Old French esmaier to frighten (from Vulgar Latin exmagāre to deprive of power) (Latin ex- ex-) (Germanic magan to be able to magh- in Indo-European roots)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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