verb (used with object)

  1. to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt: The surprise attack dismayed the enemy.
  2. to surprise in such a manner as to disillusion: She was dismayed to learn of their disloyalty.
  3. to alarm; perturb: The new law dismayed some of the more conservative politicians.


  1. sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.
  2. sudden disillusionment.
  3. agitation of mind; perturbation; alarm.

verb (tr)

  1. to fill with apprehension or alarm
  2. to fill with depression or discouragement


  1. consternation or agitation

adj.1610s, from un- (1) “not” + past participle of dismay. v.late 13c., dismaien, from Old French *desmaier (attested only in past participle dismaye), from Latin de- intensive prefix + Old French esmaier “to trouble, disturb,” from Vulgar Latin *exmagare “divest of power or ability” (source of Italian smagare “to weaken, dismay, discourage”), from ex- (see ex-) + Germanic stem *mag- “power, ability” (cf. Old High German magen “to be powerful or able;” see may (v.)). Spanish desmayer “to be dispirited” is a loan word from Old French. Related: Dismayed; dismaying. n.c.1300, from dismay (v.).

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