Definition of dismay in English:



  • Consternation and distress, typically that caused by something unexpected.

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

    ‘they were dismayed by the U-turn in policy’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I AM dismayed the Tories are again seeking to prevent the Eltham leisure centre from going ahead.’
    • ‘He was dismayed to realise that his vote was, more than likely, invalid.’
    • ‘Mr Bracegirdle, from Rochdale, says he was dismayed when staff told him flowers were no longer accepted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What dismays me now is the possibility of Scottish politicians betraying their commitment to young people for political advantage.’
    • ‘I was dismayed by their lack of confidence in the world's safest form of travel but understood their misgivings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was dismayed to see that the editors have allowed him to enter the realm of libelist.’
    • ‘Life as a single mother dismays her: ‘I have a fear of people letting me down.’’
    • ‘I am dismayed at the lack of balanced investigative reporting by our media on this subject.’
    • ‘The Midwest, however, has largely kept the faith, which dismays observers like Thomas Frank.’
    • ‘He was also dismayed at the organisation and facilities and finally walked off the job in disgust.’
    • ‘As a rugby enthusiast and player I am dismayed at the widespread disinterest in Scotland for such a great team sport.’
    • ‘I'm dismayed that the Guardian employs someone with such a poor sense of proportion.’
    • ‘I was somewhat dismayed, but they all insisted it was a compliment to appear older than you are.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.