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From Middle French descontenancer (compare French décontenancer).



discountenance ‎(third-person singular simple present discountenances, present participle discountenancing, simple past and past participle discountenanced)

  1. To have an unfavorable opinion of; to deprecate or disapprove of.
    • 1855, George Bancroft, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent, London: Routledge, Volume V, Chapter XXX, p. 74, [1]
      A town meeting was convened to discountenance riot.
    • 1908, Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1921, Chapter IV, p. 90, [2]
      So far from friendship being an institution whose value is recognised and understood, it is at best scantily acknowledged, and is often actually discountenanced and misunderstood.
    • 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part One, Chapter 2, [3]
      'Mrs' was a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party—you were supposed to call everyone 'comrade'—but with some women one used it instinctively.
  2. To abash, embarrass or disconcert.
    • 1671, John Milton, Paradise Regained, Book II, lines 216-220, [4]
      How would one look from his majestic brow, / Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill, / Discountenance her despised, and put to rout / All her array, her female pride deject, / Or turn to reverent awe!
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter XVI, [5]
      The hermit was somewhat discountenanced by this observation.