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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 4, 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.