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From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman descomforter



discomfort (countable and uncountable, plural discomforts)

  1. Mental or bodily distress.
  2. Something that disturbs one’s comfort; an annoyance.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
    • 2016 October 22, Rami G Khouri, “Lebanese oligarchy preserves its interests once again”, in Aljazeera[1]:
      This happened in the past several years, and it worsened conditions in sectors such as foreign debt, electricity output, rubbish collection, water delivery, and other essential services, to the discomfort of the majority of Lebanese who have spoken out intermittently against the oligarchy of sectarian leaders who rule the country.


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discomfort (third-person singular simple present discomforts, present participle discomforting, simple past and past participle discomforted)

  1. To cause annoyance or distress to.
  2. (obsolete) To discourage; to deject.
    • Shakespeare
      His funeral shall not be in our camp, / Lest it discomfort us.

Usage notesEdit

As a verb, the unrelated term discomfit is often used instead, largely interchangeably, though this is proscribed by some as an error, discomfit originally meaning “destroy”, not “distress”.

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit