tr.v. dis·mayed, dis·may·ing, dis·mays
1. To cause to lose enthusiasm or resolution; disillusion or discourage: "young executives dismayed by the corporate ladder" (Peter Grose). See Synonyms at discourage.
2. To upset or distress: "Parents may be dismayed by the mess from sand or paint spread around by the pair or group at play" (Elizabeth Noble).
A sudden or complete loss of courage in the face of trouble or danger.
[Middle English dismaien, from Anglo-Norman *desmaiier : probably de-, intensive pref.; see DE- + Old French esmaier, to frighten (from Vulgar Latin *exmagāre, to deprive of power : Latin ex-, ex- + Germanic *magan, to be able to; see magh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.