Definition of dismay in English:



  • [mass noun] Concern and distress caused by something unexpected.

    ‘to his dismay, she left him’
    • ‘Villagers reacted with shock and dismay to the news of the death.’
    • ‘His shock and dismay, in stark contrast to the delight of his friends, was compelling to behold.’
    • ‘Ethan put his arms stiffly at his sides and stood, to my dismay, like a little soldier.’
    • ‘The whole world is looking with shock and dismay on what's happening in Fiji.’
    • ‘To my dismay, but not utter shock, Jim was sitting at the table with his coffee and paper.’
    • ‘Before considering Mr Dennys' attack on the judgment I express my dismay at the futility of the litigation.’
    • ‘She also played Maria in the musical West Side Story, though, to her dismay, her singing had to be dubbed.’
    • ‘Jack turns around and to his dismay further out in the ocean is a woman desperately calling for help.’
    • ‘We do it now or face the repercussions in the future, much to our dismay and disdain.’
    • ‘Much to my dismay, a number of users commented that they have already started such a list.’
    • ‘To her surprise and partial dismay Shaun was standing on the other side of the door.’
    • ‘Shock, silence, dismay and a plethora of emotions would overwhelm most viewers.’
    • ‘To my dismay, his voice seemed to be coming from the back of his throat, rather than from the pit of his stomach.’
    • ‘Much to my dismay, two issues were sent to my home in Oregon after I had arrived in Norway.’
    • ‘To their dismay, Staveley found they had their backs to the wall as Celtic grabbed two goals back.’
    • ‘He lifted his sword and to his dismay, his sword had disappeared from his hand at the blink of an eye.’
    • ‘Things got heated, and to my dismay, the racial slurs started, from both sides.’
    • ‘It found, much to our dismay, that many, many young Australians have no sense of their own future at all.’
    • ‘Religious parties realised this to their dismay when they failed at one poll after another.’
    • ‘To my dismay, Jack suddenly changed direction and headed for the point in the ceiling directly above my head.’
    alarm, shock, surprise, consternation, concern, perturbation, disquiet, disquietude, discomposure, distress, upset, anxiety, trepidation, fear
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  • Cause (someone) to feel concern and distress.

    ‘they were dismayed by the U-turn in policy’
    ‘to most experts, such findings have been somewhat dismaying’
    • ‘The Midwest, however, has largely kept the faith, which dismays observers like Thomas Frank.’
    • ‘I was dismayed to see that the editors have allowed him to enter the realm of libelist.’
    • ‘What dismays me now is the possibility of Scottish politicians betraying their commitment to young people for political advantage.’
    • ‘I was somewhat dismayed, but they all insisted it was a compliment to appear older than you are.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It dismays me to see the energy that so many people waste in sticking their middle finger up - because it feels good - instead of actually trying to work with the world.’
    • ‘Mr Bracegirdle, from Rochdale, says he was dismayed when staff told him flowers were no longer accepted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I AM dismayed the Tories are again seeking to prevent the Eltham leisure centre from going ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I am dismayed at the lack of balanced investigative reporting by our media on this subject.’
    • ‘Life as a single mother dismays her: ‘I have a fear of people letting me down.’’
    • ‘She was dismayed to discover that when she phoned to make an appointment for a routine check-up late last year she could not do so.’
    • ‘I'm dismayed that the Guardian employs someone with such a poor sense of proportion.’
    • ‘He was dismayed to realise that his vote was, more than likely, invalid.’
    • ‘He was also dismayed at the organisation and facilities and finally walked off the job in disgust.’
    • ‘This is the sort of book that sells, which I'm sure dismays some scholarly writers who have not quite gotten used to living in the real world yet.’
    • ‘The other key lesson, which dismays the report authors, is how dependent Scots of all classes are on expecting others to sort out their problems.’
    • ‘As a rugby enthusiast and player I am dismayed at the widespread disinterest in Scotland for such a great team sport.’
    • ‘I was dismayed by their lack of confidence in the world's safest form of travel but understood their misgivings.’
    appal, horrify, shock, shake, shake up
    disconcert, take aback, confound, surprise, startle, alarm, frighten, scare, daunt, discomfit, unnerve, unman, unsettle, throw off balance, discompose, discountenance
    trouble, bother, concern, perturb, disturb, upset, distress, sadden, dishearten, dispirit
    rattle, spook, faze, psych, knock sideways, knock for six
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Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin dis- (expressing negation) + the Germanic base of may.