From Middle English dismayen, from Anglo-Norman *desmaiier, alteration of Old French esmaier (“to frighten”), from Vulgar Latin *exmagare (“to deprive (someone) of strength, to disable”), from ex- + *magare (“to enable, empower”), from Proto-Germanic *maginą, *maganą (“might, power”), from Proto-Indo-European *mēgh- (“to be able”). Akin to Old High German magan, megin (“power, might, main”), Old English mæġen (“might, main”), Old High German magan, mugan (“to be powerful, able”), Old English magan (“to be able”). More at main, may.
- A sudden or complete loss of courage and firmness in the face of trouble or danger; overwhelming and disabling terror; a sinking of the spirits; consternation.
- Condition fitted to dismay; ruin.
- To disable with alarm or apprehensions; to depress the spirits or courage of; to deprive of firmness and energy through fear; to daunt; to appall; to terrify.
- To render lifeless; to subdue; to disquiet.
- To take dismay or fright; to be filled with dismay.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)