Definition of discourage in English:



  • 1 Cause (someone) to lose confidence or enthusiasm.

    ‘I don't want to discourage you, but I don't think it's such a good idea’
    • ‘Research also indicates that negative school experiences can discourage students from teaching careers.’
    • ‘Indeed, our government seems to be doing all it can to discourage people from investing for the long term.’
    • ‘These problems exacerbate legitimate business risks and discourage people from long-term investments.’
    • ‘The tolls have damaged people's livelihoods by discouraging tourists.’
    • ‘Critics say the fees will discourage poor people from going to hospital.’
    • ‘He longed to be a singer, but his first teacher discouraged him.’
    • ‘And what really discourages me is the way it's being used.’
    • ‘She was never discouraged or disappointed during her stay.’
    • ‘The prospect of such huge debts will definitely discourage young people from choosing university, especially those from poorer backgrounds.’
    • ‘He was discouraged by the poor response of teachers to his popular methods of improving teaching and so he burned the manuscript of the third volume.’
    • ‘The poor service is well known and it discourages victims to report their cases to the police.’
    • ‘The reality facing higher education right now is that the prospect of debt is discouraging many students from poorer homes from considering going to university at all.’
    • ‘But, along with these charges, the overall cost does discourage poor patients from undergoing advanced treatment.’
    • ‘I was thoroughly discouraged, so I turned away and flopped dejectedly onto my bed.’
    • ‘Patients and doctors are currently discouraged from investigating and treating sore throats.’
    • ‘If you are lacking experience, do not let that discourage you.’
    • ‘The risk of suffering a capital loss discourages many people from investing in shares.’
    • ‘I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there.’
    • ‘Many policies aimed at helping the poor can have the side effect of discouraging the poor from escaping poverty on their own.’
    • ‘They don't want to discourage their own staff, investors in their funds, journalists and the market in general.’
    disheartened, dispirited, demoralized, deflated, disappointed, let down, disconsolate, despondent, fed up, dejected, cast down, downcast, depressed, crestfallen, dismayed, low-spirited, gloomy, glum, pessimistic, unenthusiastic, having lost heart, lacking in enthusiasm, lacking in confidence, unconfident
    put off, daunted, intimidated, cowed, crushed
    down in the mouth, down in the dumps, unenthused, with cold feet
    heartsick, heartsore
    depressing, demoralizing, disheartening, dispiriting, disappointing, gloomy, off-putting
    unfavourable, unpromising, not hopeful, not encouraging, unpropitious, inauspicious
    dishearten, dispirit, demoralize, make despondent, make downhearted, cast down, depress, disappoint, dampen someone's hopes, dash someone's hopes, cause to lose heart
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Prevent or seek to prevent (something) by showing disapproval or creating difficulties.
      ‘the plan is designed to discourage the use of private cars’
      • ‘They would discourage all day parking, thereby creating an increased turnover of spaces.’
      • ‘He added that fares will be clearly posted on each vehicle in order to prevent confusion and discourage mischievous behavior of drivers.’
      • ‘Lynne and her colleagues place a higher priority on preventive actions to discourage bad behaviour and crime.’
      • ‘We discourage dives below 30 meters, especially if decompression stops are required.’
      • ‘Continued advertising and marketing will make it difficult to discourage this practice among young women.’
      • ‘They are designed to discourage investors from cashing in their investment.’
      • ‘If the assertion of these rights in a secular democratic framework is discouraged or suppressed, then clearly something is wrong.’
      • ‘However, it is designed to promote best practice, in terms of discouraging the use of, or minimising the harm caused by, marijuana.’
      • ‘The Licensing Act 2003 is designed to tackle binge drinking and anti-social behaviour by discouraging happy hours.’
      • ‘She and her fellow ward councillors are now taking steps to discourage the new plan.’
      • ‘The creatures exude a noxious substance as a byproduct of their metabolic processes, one that prevents fouling of its exterior and discourages predators.’
      • ‘House prices have stopped rising, which will discourage borrowings.’
      • ‘Further, if they chose to stop or to discourage visits, they felt anguished about their decisions.’
      • ‘Traditionally, the meat was rubbed with powdered ginger and pepper during hanging to discourage flies and prevent tainting.’
      • ‘Preventing or discouraging bad behavior is also more effective than punishing the child.’
      • ‘The bollards and uprights have been left in place to curb the speed of traffic and discourage the use of the road as a rat run.’
      • ‘Even if the legislature must be able to discourage unjustified absences, it cannot penalise them by creating exceptions to the right to legal assistance.’
      • ‘The arrangement of the service seems almost to have been designed to discourage its use.’
      • ‘The new building would be designed with high security measures in a bid to discourage damage.’
      • ‘In addition, the government resorted to questionable campaign tactics designed to discourage demerger.’
      prevent, stop, put a stop to, avert, fend off, stave off, ward off
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Persuade (someone) against an action.
      ‘we want to discourage children from smoking’
      • ‘A high would reflect a method of user removal that would be effective in scaring or otherwise discouraging new users from joining the network.’
      • ‘A combination of persuasion and stiff fines may become necessary to discourage people from littering public places.’
      • ‘Backbreaking work, all that stooping but I had been warned, even discouraged from going.’
      deter, dissuade, disincline, turn aside
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French descouragier, from des- (expressing reversal) + corage courage.