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Dismay Definition and Meaning

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on May 16, 2024
Dismay is a feeling of distress or alarm caused by something unexpected. e.g., To her dismay, the cake had fallen flat.

Dismay Definitions

Free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.
The judge promised a fair trial to everyone.
Legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules.
It was a fair fight between the two boxers.
(of wind) Favorable for the course of a vessel.
The sailors hoped for a fair wind to help them on their journey.
A sudden or complete loss of courage in the face of trouble or danger.
The soldiers felt dismay at the size of the enemy force.
Moderately large; ample.
They caught a fair amount of fish today.
Neither excellent nor poor; moderately or satisfactorily good.
She received a fair grade on her exam.
Favorable; promising.
The morning has a fair chance of sunshine.
Directly; straight.
He hit the ball fair and square.
Beautiful; attractive.
She is considered very fair in her hometown.
Light in color, as hair or complexion.
His fair hair was noticeable in the crowd.
Clear; sunny; fine; partly cloudy.
The forecast predicts fair weather for the weekend.
A strong feeling of fear, worry, or sadness that is caused by something unpleasant and unexpected.
News of the earthquake filled the town with dismay.
To break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble.
The steepness of the mountain dismayed the climbers.
To surprise in such a manner as to disillusion.
She was dismayed by the lack of enthusiasm.
To alarm or upset.
The scandal dismayed the public.
A condition of being unsettled or worried.
There was a look of dismay on her face when she heard the news.
To discourage; to dishearten.
Their criticism dismayed the young artist.
A feeling of powerlessness or despair.
He felt a sense of dismay upon losing his job.
To fill with apprehension or alarm.
The dark clouds on the horizon dismayed the picnic-goers.
An overwhelming feeling of disappointment.
His rejection was met with dismay.

Dismay Snonyms


A sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger.
His sudden illness raised alarm in the family.


A feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen.
He approached his exam with trepidation.


Extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.
The photograph captured the distress of the war-torn region.


A state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage.
After the defeat, the general mood was one of despondency.


Feelings of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected.
The surprise attack caused consternation among the troops.


A feeling of losing spirit or morale.
The team's loss led to disheartenment among the fans.


A sudden upsetting or surprising event or experience.
The news of his death was a shock to everyone.


A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
She felt a deep sense of anxiety before the interview.


Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.
The fire caused panic among the residents.


Anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.
There was a look of apprehension on her face as the storm approached.

Dismay Idioms & Phrases

Sigh of dismay

An audible expression of disappointment or concern.
There was a collective sigh of dismay when the power went out.

To one's dismay

Much to someone's disappointment or horror.
To his dismay, the car wouldn't start.

Cry of dismay

A vocal expression of fear or shock.
A cry of dismay went up when the verdict was announced.

Look of dismay

A facial expression showing alarm or disappointment.
A look of dismay crossed her face when she saw the broken vase.

Moment of dismay

A particular time when someone feels sudden disappointment.
There was a moment of dismay when they realized they were lost.

Shudder of dismay

A physical reaction of horror or shock.
She felt a shudder of dismay at the sight of the snake.

Silence of dismay

A quiet period following a shocking or disappointing event.
The room fell into a silence of dismay after the announcement.

Heart filled with dismay

Feeling deeply discouraged or distressed.
His heart was filled with dismay at the thought of leaving.

Spread dismay

To cause alarm or disappointment to spread among people.
The rumors quickly spread dismay among the community.

In dismay

Feeling distressed or troubled by something.
She looked in dismay at the mess.

Wave of dismay

A strong feeling of fear or disappointment spreading among a group of people.
A wave of dismay swept through the crowd as the news spread.

Echoes of dismay

Repeated expressions of concern or disappointment.
Echoes of dismay were heard throughout the hall during the discussion.

Frozen in dismay

Unable to move or react because of shock or fear.
They were frozen in dismay by the sudden appearance of the bear.

Gasp of dismay

A sharp intake of breath due to shock or surprise.
A gasp of dismay escaped her lips when she saw the painting was gone.

Chorus of dismay

Many people expressing their disappointment or worry at the same time.
A chorus of dismay arose when the cancellation was confirmed.

Voice quivering with dismay

Speaking with a shaky voice due to nervousness or fear.
Her voice quivered with dismay as she recounted the incident.

Words of dismay

Statements expressing a feeling of unhappiness or disappointment.
Words of dismay filled the letters from the front.

Drowned in dismay

Overwhelmed by a sense of fear or disappointment.
She felt drowned in dismay upon hearing the bad news.

Eyes wide with dismay

Eyes opened widely in shock or surprise.
His eyes were wide with dismay when he realized his mistake.

Fall into dismay

To become disheartened or discouraged.
The team fell into dismay after the third goal.

Dismay Example Sentences

To everyone's dismay, the concert was canceled.
His expression of dismay was evident when he failed the test.
The news brought dismay to the small community.
They watched in dismay as the fire spread.
They expressed their dismay at the sudden change in plans.
The crowd's dismay was palpable when the verdict was read.
The sudden thunderstorm caused great dismay among the campers.
She couldn't hide her dismay when she saw the burnt cookies.
Her voice was filled with dismay as she spoke of the disaster.
He felt a sense of dismay at the thought of starting over.
The project's failure plunged the team into dismay.
The decision was met with widespread dismay.
The teacher's announcement caused dismay among the students.
A feeling of dismay washed over her when she realized she had lost her keys.
The parents looked at the messy room in dismay.

Common Curiosities

How is dismay used in a sentence?

Dismay is often used as a noun to describe a feeling of concern, fear, or alarm. e.g., The cancellation of the trip filled the students with dismay.

What is a stressed syllable in dismay?

The second syllable, -may, is the stressed syllable in "dismay."

How do we divide dismay into syllables?

Dismay is divided into syllables as dis-may.

What is the first form of dismay?

The first form of "dismay" as a verb is "dismay."

What is the root word of dismay?

The root of "dismay" comes from the Old French "desmaier."

What is another term for dismay?

Another term for "dismay" could be "consternation."

Why is it called dismay?

"Dismay" comes from the Middle English "dismayen," meaning to deprive of courage, related to the Old French "desmaier," to dismay or lose courage.

How many syllables are in dismay?

There are 2 syllables in "dismay."

What is the verb form of dismay?

The verb form of "dismay" is also "dismay," meaning to cause someone to feel unexpected concern or fear. e.g., The news dismayed her greatly.

What is the third form of dismay?

The third form of "dismay" as a verb is also "dismayed."

What is the pronunciation of dismay?

Dismay is pronounced as /dɪˈsmeɪ/.

Is dismay an adverb?

Dismay is not used as an adverb.

Is dismay a negative or positive word?

Dismay is considered a negative word as it describes feelings of distress or alarm.

Which determiner is used with dismay?

Determiners like "a," "the," "much," and "little" can be used with dismay depending on the context.

What is the singular form of dismay?

The singular form is "dismay."

Is dismay a vowel or consonant?

The word "dismay" starts with a consonant sound.

Is the word “dismay” a direct object or an indirect object?

"Dismay" can be a direct object when it is the result of an action. e.g., The decision caused her dismay.

What is the second form of dismay?

The second form of "dismay" as a verb is "dismayed."

Is dismay a collective noun?

Dismay is not a collective noun.

Is the word dismay a gerund?

Dismay is not a gerund. The gerund form would be "dismaying," which is the verb form used as a noun.

Which vowel is used before dismay?

The vowel or article used before "dismay" depends on the context, not a specific rule.

Which conjunction is used with dismay?

Conjunctions are not specifically associated with "dismay"; it depends on how it's used in a sentence.

What is the plural form of dismay?

The plural form of "dismay" is "dismays."

Is dismay a countable noun?

As a concept or feeling, "dismay" is generally not considered a countable noun.

Is the word dismay imperative?

Dismay is not typically used in the imperative mood; it's more commonly used to express a reaction.

Which preposition is used with dismay?

Prepositions like "in," "with," and "at" can be used with dismay depending on the sentence. e.g., She looked at him with dismay.

Which article is used with dismay?

Both "a" and "the" can be used with dismay depending on whether it's being used in a specific or general sense.

What part of speech is dismay?

"Dismay" is used as both a noun and a verb.

What is the opposite of dismay?

The opposite of dismay could be "delight" or "joy."

Is dismay a noun or adjective?

Dismay is primarily a noun, but it can also be used as a verb.

Is dismay an abstract noun?

Yes, when used as a noun, "dismay" is an abstract noun as it refers to a feeling.

Is the dismay term a metaphor?

"Dismay" itself is not a metaphor, but it can be used metaphorically to describe a profound sense of disappointment or shock.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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