discomfit

 , discomfort
 "In this she is greatly assisted by her husband... who enjoys spreading discomfiture in a good cause as much as she does" (Observer). The writer here, like many before him, clearly meant discomfort, which has nothing in common with discomfiture beyond a superficial resemblance. Discomfit means to rout, overwhelm, or completely disconcert. Some dictionaries now accept the newer sense of to perplex or induce uneasiness, but I would submit that the distinction is very much worth preserving. If discomfort is the condition you have in mind, why not use that word and leave discomfiture for less discriminating users?

Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • discomfit — discomfit, discomfort Discomfit in current English means ‘to thwart the plans of’ (its original meaning) or ‘to embarrass or disconcert’. In its weaker second meaning, in which it occurs most often in the form discomfited, it overlaps with the… …   Modern English usage

  • Discomfit — Dis*com fit, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Discomfited}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Discomfiting}.] [OF. desconfit, p. p. of desconfire, F. d[ e]confire; fr. L. dis + conficere to make ready, prepare, bring about. See {Comfit}, {Fact}.] 1. To scatter in fight; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Discomfit — Dis*com fit, n. Rout; overthrow; discomfiture. [1913 Webster] Such a discomfit as shall quite despoil him. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Discomfit — Dis*com fit, a. Discomfited; overthrown. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • discomfit — index beat (defeat), discompose, disconcert, disturb, embarrass, overcome (overwhelm), overwhelm …   Law dictionary

  • discomfit — c.1200, from O.Fr. desconfit vanquished, defeated, pp. of desconfire to defeat, destroy, from des not (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + confire make, prepare, accomplish, from L. conficere (see CONFECTION (Cf. confection)). Originally an adjective in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • discomfit — disconcert, *embarrass, faze, abash, rattle Analogous words: *annoy, vex, irk, bother: perturb, *discompose, agitate, upset, disturb: check, *arrest, interrupt …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • discomfit — [v] defeat, frustrate; confuse abash, annoy, baffle, balk, beat, bother, checkmate, confound, demoralize, discompose, disconcert, discountenance, disturb, embarrass, faze, fluster, foil, irk, outwit, overcome, perplex, perturb, prevent, rattle,… …   New thesaurus

  • discomfit — ► VERB (discomfited, discomfiting) ▪ make uneasy or embarrassed. DERIVATIVES discomfiture noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «defeat in battle»: from Old French desconfire, from Latin conficere put together …   English terms dictionary

  • discomfit — [dis kum′fit] vt. [ME discomfiten < OFr desconfit, pp. of desconfire < VL * disconficere < L dis + conficere: see CONFECT] 1. Archaic to defeat; overthrow 2. to frustrate the plans or expectations of 3. to make uneasy; disconcert SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • discomfit — UK [dɪsˈkʌmfɪt] / US verb [transitive] Word forms discomfit : present tense I/you/we/they discomfit he/she/it discomfits present participle discomfiting past tense discomfited past participle discomfited literary to make someone feel embarrassed …   English dictionary

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