Definition of dismay in English:

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Pronunciation: /disˈmā/


Consternation and distress, typically that caused by something unexpected: to his dismay, she left him
More example sentences
  • Things got heated, and to my dismay, the racial slurs started, from both sides.
  • To my dismay, his voice seemed to be coming from the back of his throat, rather than from the pit of his stomach.
  • She also played Maria in the musical West Side Story, though, to her dismay, her singing had to be dubbed.
alarm, shock, surprise, consternation, concern, perturbation, disquiet, discomposure, distress


[with object]
Cause (someone) to feel consternation and distress: they were dismayed by the U-turn in policy
More example sentences
  • It all makes for one of the things that most dismays me about public discourse, which is that no one stands up for principle over immediate gratification.
  • It is the combined failure of the Scottish Executive and privatised rail companies to provide co-ordinated leadership that most dismays him and other electrification enthusiasts.
  • But I think the thing that really dismays me, beyond even the faulty reasoning or naive grasp of political realities, is how dull it all is.
appall, horrify, shock, shake (up);
disconcert, take aback, alarm, unnerve, unsettle, throw off balance, discompose;
disturb, upset, distress
informal rattle, faze



Example sentences
  • A different resemblance between the two occupations, however, is now dismayingly germane.
  • Nevertheless, his message is still dismayingly mixed.
  • Their results showed dismayingly low average statistical power.


Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin dis- (expressing negation) + the Germanic base of may1.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·may

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