Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
  • transitive v. To hamper by discouraging; deter.
  • transitive v. To try to prevent by expressing disapproval or raising objections.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To take away or reduce the courage of.
  • v. To persuade somebody not to do something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To extinguish the courage of; to dishearten; to depress the spirits of; to deprive of confidence; to deject; -- the opposite of encourage
  • transitive v. To dishearten one with respect to; to discountenance; to seek to check by disfavoring; to deter one from.
  • n. Lack of courage; cowardliness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To deprive of, or cause to lose, courage; dishearten; depress in spirit; deject; dispirit.
  • To lessen or repress courage for; obstruct by opposition or difficulty; dissuade or hinder from: as, to discourage emigration; ill success discourages effort; low prices discourage industry.
  • To lose courage.
  • n. Want of courage, cowardice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. admonish or counsel in terms of someone's behavior
  • v. try to prevent; show opposition to
  • v. deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged

Etymologies

Middle English discoragen, from Old French descoragier : des-, dis- + corage, courage; see courage.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French descourager (modern French décourager), from Old French descouragier, from des- and corage. Surface analysis dis- +‎ courage. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the 1970s, King Bhumibol Adulyadej coined the term to discourage indebtedness caused by overinvestment and overconsumption in rural areas.

    Thailand and Mass Politics

  • Obama specifically referred to the "possibility of fees for transactions that we want to discourage, that is one of the ideas that is going to be working its way through the process."

    Charlie Cray: Yes, We Can Make Wall Street Pay for its Own Bailouts

  • And in terms of the last point that you made which is the possibility of fees for transactions that we want to discourage, that is one of the ideas that is going to be working its way through the process.

    CNN Transcript Jul 22, 2009

  • And that which can begin to discourage is to begin to lose, and, therefore, he should guard against small combats and not permit them unless he can engage in them with the greatest advantages and certain hope of victory: he ought not to engage in guarding passes where he cannot employ all his army: he ought not to engage in guarding towns except those which, if lost, would of necessity cause his own ruin, and in those that he does guard so organize himself that if faced with the possibility of siege, he can with the guards and the army employ all his strength, and ought to leave the other places undefended: For whenever something is lost which is abandoned but the army remains intact, he neither loses reputation in the war nor the hope of winning it.

    Discourses

  • Of course oil flacks like Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma would argue that imposing additional costs and exposing oil companies to uncapped liability would "discourage" this kind of drilling.

    Robert Creamer: The Oil Spill and the Republicans

  • While urging Eisenhower to "discourage" fraternization, the president was more concerned about appearances than actual behavior.

    Miss Yourlovin: GIs, Gender, and Domesticity during World War II

  • Instead the House adopted the gun lobby agenda that nothing should ever be done to "discourage" gun ownership and possession.

    Paul Helmke: U.S. House Acts Like City Council To Pass Dangerous Gun Lobby Bill

  • Naturally, the Bush administration indicated that they would "discourage" plans for any such cartel.

    Pipelines and Imperial Missions

  • Y. Yamamoto came to the area to "discourage" the two sides from resorting to war and urged that they "engage in dialogue" to resolve outstanding issues, sources said.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Wherever possible he should also "discourage" the feelings of impotence.

    Chapter 7

Comments

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  • Yes, last OED2 citation 1614:

    T. ADAMS Devil's Banquet 242 Consecrate and courage your hands and voyces to the vastation of Jericho-walls.

    April 25, 2009

  • This is interesting, does it mean that courage was once a verb?

    April 25, 2009