verb (discomfits, discomfiting, discomfited)[with object]
- The overused phrase ‘politically correct’ is usually code for something newish that discomfits the writer.
- Tight-lipped, he appeared discomfited by the questions thrown at him, and relied on streams of impenetrable government-speak for his responses.
- The poor boy was clearly discomfited, but we can never resist a mystery, so he gulped out an answer.
The words discomfit and discomfort are etymologically unrelated. Further, discomfit is a verb and discomfort is primarily a noun. But in modern use, their principal meanings as a verb have collapsed into one: ‘make (someone) feel uneasy.’.
Middle English (in the sense 'defeat in battle'): from Old French desconfit, past participle of desconfire, based on Latin dis- (expressing reversal) + conficere 'put together' (see confection).
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