Word of the Day

Saturday, November 13, 2004


\dis-KUHM-fit; dis-kuhm-FIT\ , transitive verb;
To make uneasy or perplexed, or to put into a state of embarrassment; to disconcert; to upset.
To thwart; to frustrate the plans of.
(Archaic). To defeat in battle.
A few of Dr. Baden's anecdotes ramble pointlessly, and his gusto in describing the anatomical characteristics of exhumed bodies may discomfit the squeamish.
-- Teresa Carpenter, "Death Is Just the Beginning", New York Times, June 25, 1989
But the business of paradox is to discomfit the mind and force truths into connections that cannot be thought.
-- Lore Segal, "A Passion for Polishness", New York Times, February 18, 1990
Starr Bright was used to the attention of strangers and would have been discomfited if no one noticed her, so leggy and glamorous.
-- Joyce Carol Oates, Starr Bright Will Be With You Soon
Why were the men so discomfited, and why, in a group renowned for its openness, was there so much difficulty in speaking frankly?
-- Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf
Discomfit comes from Old French desconfit, past participle of desconfire, from Latin dis- + conficere, "to make ready, to prepare, to bring about," from com- + facere, "to make."
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