If you discover late Sunday night that the dog really did eat your homework, you might cry out in dismay. Dismay describes an emotional state of alarm, fear, or serious disappointment.

The first part of dismay comes from the Latin prefix dis-, which comes in handy when you want to put a negative spin on words (dishonest, discount, disenchant, etc.). The last bit of dismay most likely comes from the Germanic word magan, meaning "to be able to." You can employ the word dismay to describe how you feel in a variety of negative situations that you doubt you are able to handle.

Definitions of dismay
  1. noun
    the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles
    synonyms: discouragement, disheartenment
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    the feeling of discouragement in the face of someone's superior fame or wealth or status etc.
    type of:
    the feeling that everything is wrong and nothing will turn out well
  2. noun
    fear resulting from the awareness of danger
    synonyms: alarm, consternation
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    type of:
    fear, fearfulness, fright
    an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)
  3. verb
    lower someone's spirits; make downhearted
    synonyms: cast down, deject, demoralise, demoralize, depress, dispirit, get down
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    elate, intoxicate, lift up, pick up, uplift
    fill with high spirits; fill with optimism
    depress or discourage
    type of:
    deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged
  4. verb
    fill with apprehension or alarm; cause to be unpleasantly surprised
    synonyms: alarm, appal, appall, horrify
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    strike with horror or terror
    type of:
    affright, fright, frighten, scare
    cause fear in
Word Family

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