Definition of discomfort in US English:



  • 1Slight pain.

    ‘the patient complained of discomfort in the left calf’
    • ‘He has also had to endure shooting pains in different parts of his body, abdominal discomfort, nausea and some irregular heartbeats.’
    • ‘Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by recurrent episodes of abdominal pain and discomfort and disturbed bowel habits.’
    • ‘Massage has only minor adverse effects, including pain and discomfort in some patients.’
    • ‘Although varicose veins do not generally threaten your health they can be a massive cosmetic concern, not to mention the common symptoms of discomfort, aching, pain and itching.’
    • ‘He also experienced some vague abdominal discomfort and complained about significant weight loss.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the pain and discomfort suffered by patients is significantly reduced, as is the drain on health service resources.’
    • ‘However, no patient complained of chest discomfort or anginal pain during acupuncture stimulation.’
    • ‘Most patients came to the hospital because of increasing swelling, discomfort, or pain at the injection site but soon became systemically ill.’
    • ‘The objective in wound management is to heal the wound in the shortest time possible, with minimal pain, discomfort, and scarring to the patient.’
    • ‘Unabsorbed fats may also cause excessive intestinal gas, an abnormally swollen belly, and abdominal pain or discomfort.’
    • ‘See your doctor if you experience blood flecks in your stools, a change in your regular bowel habits, abdominal pain or discomfort lasting two weeks or more, or unexplained weight loss.’
    • ‘He was also examined by a police surgeon and his own GP, and said he had suffered pain and discomfort and a slight scratch to his arm.’
    • ‘Pain and discomfort may increase, remain at the same level, or decrease as death approaches.’
    • ‘Some complain of a nonspecific dental discomfort or a pain in the sinus or ear region.’
    • ‘And yes, there is likely to be tenderness, discomfort and slight swelling, so use an ice pack and stay off your feet for 48 hours.’
    • ‘It is defined as persistent or recurrent abdominal pain or abdominal discomfort centered in the upper abdomen.’
    • ‘And apart from altered bowel movement, IBS sufferers also complain about feeling bloated, abdominal pain and discomfort.’
    • ‘The procedure takes about 15 minutes and the patient experiences no pain or discomfort and is free to go home immediately after the treatment.’
    • ‘Most patients also have epigastric discomfort or dull back pain.’
    • ‘Deep palpation of the right upper abdominal quadrant caused mild discomfort and pain.’
    pain, aches and pains, soreness, tenderness, irritation, stiffness, malaise
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    1. 1.1 A state of mental unease; worry or embarrassment.
      ‘his remarks caused her discomfort’
      • ‘We tend to view the impoverished with fear, discomfort, apathy, annoyance, callousness or resentment.’
      • ‘Connor's disposition had slowly adapted from one of amusement to one of worry and discomfort.’
      • ‘There was no sign of discomfort or worry, but there was also no sign of complete peace or happiness either.’
      • ‘Instead, he finds himself helpless in this situation, experiencing a great deal of confusion, sadness, discomfort, and disturbance.’
      • ‘We are drawn to his women not by attractive packages but by the humanity of his subjects, by their discomfort or embarrassment, mirth or sadness, the surge of their blood.’
      • ‘Their genuine discomfort, jealousy, desire, annoyance, and camaraderie are the heart of the film.’
      • ‘He didn't say a word, just hovered somewhere between embarrassment, happiness and discomfort for a while.’
      • ‘It is not unusual for manic patients to run up large debts, or follow a course of action that later causes them intense embarrassment, or discomfort, when they have fully recovered.’
      • ‘Derek paused a moment and shuffled his feet a moment, giving off the vibe of discomfort and perhaps even embarrassment.’
      • ‘Her fear, discomfort and social ineptitude would rage inside of her during class.’
      • ‘Unconscious guilt is experienced as a vague feeling of discomfort, threat, anxiety or danger, reflected in the film's visual style and in its investigative narrative.’
      • ‘Not showing any sign of discomfort or worry, I sat down.’
      • ‘This may exacerbate feelings of anxiety or discomfort and shy behaviour.’
      • ‘Back in the engineering lab, things had calmed down a bit, but the feeling of discomfort and uneasiness hadn't escaped the atmosphere.’
      • ‘Dad greets him with a huge, welcoming smile, displaying no discomfort or embarrassment whatsoever.’
      • ‘A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness.’
      • ‘Some students were able to process their feelings of discomfort and apprehension during their presentations.’
      • ‘Seeing Julia's discomfort and embarrassment, James did what he thought was best at the moment.’
      • ‘While I have the support of my family, the fact that these charges are outstanding has created embarrassment and discomfort for them in our community and in our family.’
      • ‘A feeling of discomfort and fear crawled to her heart and mind.’
      embarrassment, discomfiture, unease, uneasiness, abashment, awkwardness, discomposure, confusion, agitation, nervousness, flusteredness, perturbation, distress, anxiety
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    2. 1.2 Lack of physical comfort.
      ‘the discomforts of too much sun in summer’
      • ‘Yet what small discomforts are those compared to this woman's situation.’
      • ‘But physical discomforts during the third trimester, such as heartburn, leg cramps, fetal movement, shortness of breath and sinus congestion, can again interfere with sleep.’
      • ‘People in this group tend to be highly culturally aware and sensitive to the discomforts of ‘post-modernists’.’
      • ‘But for people who feel marginalized, the opportunity to insert their voice may be worth whatever risks or discomforts.’
      • ‘My sister spent several months there - and like everyone I've met who's ever been to the place, fell totally in love with it, despite its many ghastly discomforts and problems.’
      • ‘These emphasise convenience and comfort, allowing car users to seal themselves off from outside discomforts.’
      • ‘The collection explores a wide range of themes, the main ones being leaving and arriving, the discomforts of teenage years, and the beauty and agony of love relationships.’
      • ‘Their playing is willfully steeped in the discomforts of danger and exploration, and their inventions all the more stunning for their studied adversity.’
      • ‘My interviewer couldn't see past the potential discomforts of walking up and down mountain slopes carrying a heavy pack containing all my camping gear.’
      • ‘As if by magic all the man's discomforts disappeared in a couple of days: his head was refreshed and his eyes became bright.’
      • ‘Some of the common discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea, fatigue, and breast tenderness will be most pronounced during these early weeks.’
      • ‘Needless to say we're keeping all these environmental hazards and discomforts in mind and we'll be very, very careful to select our next house accordingly.’
      • ‘This is the image I fostered on the flight over, trying desperately to take my mind off the discomforts of the long journey.’
      • ‘The status of a happening city comes with its own discomforts.’
      • ‘But he shared his men's perils and discomforts, and he was loved by them in turn.’
      • ‘Amid the discomforts of his passage the author reflects on or trawls his past, his sorrows and betrayals, his experience as a wartime evacuee.’
      • ‘Nutritional measures can help manage discomforts.’
      • ‘The sun was scorching his bare back and his thighs were beginning to ache from the friction of the horse's saddle-free back, but he ignored the discomforts.’
      • ‘Generally, in culture these discomforts, stimulations, are blocked out; they are not speakable, packageable, or they are disruptive.’
      • ‘Minor discomforts start long trains of thought.’
      inconvenience, difficulty, bother, nuisance, vexation, drawback, disadvantage, trouble, problem, trial, tribulation
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[with object]
  • 1Make (someone) feel uneasy, anxious, or embarrassed.

    ‘she liked to discomfort my mother by her remarks’
    • ‘But he was discomforted with that saying, and went away mourning, for he had great possessions.’
    • ‘He had behaved impeccably so far, had shown no sign of ill character, so why did his very presence discomfort her?’
    • ‘Normally when he was discomforted he made it known if only to unload some of it onto someone else.’
    • ‘She lets go of my arms, discomforted by the comment.’
    • ‘I like to see new things, though they often discomfort me.’
    • ‘This claim will discomfort many an actuary or mathematician.’
    • ‘That's because there's something in the nature of live art that has the potential to discomfort us like no other form can.’
    • ‘His religious conversion discomforted some of the critics who hailed his early novels.’
    • ‘The story has a slightly harder tone than the first, but there is nothing on display that will discomfort anyone of any age.’
    • ‘She was obviously discomforted by the idea of public performance, and yet she was smiling.’
    • ‘Perhaps discomforted by these challenges, contemporary critics disparaged the painting.’
    • ‘Remember we grew up together, I know my enemies well enough to know what discomforts them.’
    • ‘This has been a strike which has discomforted everyone, in addition to the biting cold season being experienced.’
    • ‘Although I was trained, I was quite discomforted by the new arrangement.’
    • ‘The town, and county, already hit by shortage due to World War II, now were further discomforted by dwindling butter stocks.’
    • ‘The episode would have discomforted anybody, let alone a writer whose public image is integral to his marketing.’
    • ‘I found nothing to wound me in that research, nothing that discomforted me.’
    • ‘If this salvation story is authentic, it must challenge and discomfort us at each new point in history.’
    • ‘It survived, but was none the less discomforted by it.’
    • ‘With these and other half-truisms did he discomfort the parents.’
    discomfit, make uneasy, make uncomfortable, embarrass, abash, disconcert, nonplus, discompose, take aback, unsettle, unnerve, put someone off their stroke, upset, ruffle, fluster, perturb, disturb
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    1. 1.1often as adjective discomforting Cause (someone) slight pain.
      ‘the patient's condition has discomforting symptoms’
      • ‘I have been experiencing really discomforting pain around my ankle and arch when I stand more then 5 minutes.’
      • ‘It's just before the point when the pain turns from discomforting to agonising that he lets go of my hand.’
      • ‘The standard medical treatment is to spend a day or two in bed and take soluble aspirin to alleviate the minor discomforting symptoms.’
      • ‘You will also be able to manage discomforting pain as labor advances.’
      • ‘The most discomforting abdominal pains are the acute and gripping ones.’
      • ‘You would think needles might be discomforting, but these are very thin needles.’
      • ‘There is disclosed a composition and method for reducing or alleviating the discomforting symptoms associate with menstruation, particularly menstrual pain.’
      • ‘If you have sensitive teeth, you must be very familiar with the severely discomforting pain that goes with it.’
      • ‘In patients with significantly discomforting or disabling symptoms that are not controlled with standard measures, specific allergy testing may be warranted.’
      • ‘The patient is not discomforted by this and even may not be aware of it.’


On the difference between discomfort and discomfit, see discomfit


Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘dishearten’): from Old French desconforter (verb), desconfort (noun), from des- (expressing reversal) + conforter ‘to comfort’ (see comfort).