AskDefine | Define disappoint

Dictionary Definition

disappoint v : fail to meet the hopes or expectations of; "Her boyfriend let her down when he did not propose marriage" [syn: let down]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Verb

  1. To displease by e.g. underperforming
    His lack of respect disappointed her.
    I am disappointed by this year's revenue.

Derived terms

Translations

to displease
  • Czech: zklamat
  • Dutch: teleurstellen
  • Finnish: tuottaa pettymys
  • French: décevoir
  • German: enttäuschen
  • Hebrew: לאכזב
  • Polish: rozczarować, zawieść
  • Spanish: decepcionar

Extensive Definition

Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that the individual feeling regret focuses primarily on personal choices contributing to a poor outcome, while the individual feeling disappointment focuses on outcome. It is a source of psychological stress. The study of disappointment—its causes, impact and the degree to which individual decisions are motivated by a desire to avoid it—is a focus in the field of decision analysis, as disappointment is one of two primary emotions involved in decision-making.

Etymology

Disappoint is traced by etymologists to the Middle English disappointen by way of the Old French desapointer. In literal meaning, it is to remove from office. Its use in the sense of general frustration traces to the late 15th century, and it first appears recorded in English as an emotional state of dejection in the middle 18th century.

Psychology

Disappointment is a subjective response related to the anticipated rewards. While not every person responds to disappointment by becoming depressed, depression can (in the self psychology school of psychoanalytic theory) almost always be seen as secondary to disappointment/frustration.
Disappointment, and an inability to prepare for it, has also been hypothesized as the source of occasional immune system compromise in optimists. While optimists by and large exhibit better health, they may alternatively exhibit less immunity when under prolonged or uncontrollable stress, a phenomenon which researchers have attributed to the "disappointment effect". This disappointment effect has been challenged since the mid-1990s by researcher Suzanne C. Segerstrom, who has published, alone and in accord, several articles evaluating its plausibility. Her findings suggest that, rather than being unable to deal with disappointment, optimists are more likely to actively tackle their problems and experience some immunity compromise as a result.
In 1994, psychotherapist Ian Craib published the book The Importance of Disappointment, in which he drew on the works of Melanie Klein and Sigmund Freud in advancing the theory that disappointment-avoidant cultures—particularly therapy culture—provides false expectations of perfection in life and prevents people from achieving a healthy self-identity. Craib offered as two examples litigious victims of medical mistakes, who once would have accepted accidents as a course of life, and people suffering grief following the death of a loved one who, he said, are provided a false stage model of recovery that is more designed to comfort bereavement therapists than the bereaved.
In a 2004 article, the journal Psychology Today recommended handling disappointment through concrete steps including accepting that setbacks are normal, setting realistic goals, planning subsequent moves, thinking about positive role models, seeking support and tackling tasks by stages rather than focusing on the big picture. revolves around the notion that people contemplating risks are disappointed when the outcome of the risk is not evaluated as positively as the expected outcome. Disappointment theory has been utilized in examining such diverse decision-making processes as return migration, taxpayer compliance and customer willingness to pay. Disappointed individuals focus on "upward counterfactuals"—alternative outcomes that would have been better than the one actually experienced—to the point that even positive outcomes may result in disappointment. One example, supplied by Bell, concerns a lottery win of $10,000.00, an event which will theoretically be perceived more positively if that amount represents the highest possible win in the lottery than if it represents the lowest. Decision analysts operate on the assumption that individuals will anticipate the potential for disappointment and make decisions that are less likely to lead to the experience of this feeling.
While earlier developers of disappointment theory focused on anticipated outcomes, more recent examinations by Philippe Delquié and Alessandra Cillo of INSEAD have focused on the impact of later disappointment resulting when an actual outcome comes to be regarded negatively based on further development; for example, if a person receives higher than expected gains in the stock market, she may be elated until she discovers a week later that she could have gained much more profit if she had waited a few more days to sell.
Vince McMahon's announcement on Raw on May 26th, 2008.

Further reading

Notes

disappoint in Danish: Skuffelse
disappoint in German: Enttäuschung
disappoint in Spanish: Decepción
disappoint in Korean: 실망
disappoint in Hebrew: אכזבה
disappoint in Lithuanian: Nusivylimas
disappoint in Dutch: Teleurstelling

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

awaken, baffle, balk, beat, bilk, break the spell, burst the bubble, cast down, circumvent, correct, cross, dash, debunk, deceive, defeat, defeat expectation, disabuse, discontent, disenchant, disgruntle, dishearten, disillude, disillusion, disillusionize, displease, dissatisfy, drive to despair, enlighten, expose, fail, foil, frustrate, let down, let down easy, let in on, mislead, prick the bubble, put out, put straight, ruin, set right, set straight, show up, stand up, tantalize, tease, tell the truth, thwart, unblindfold, uncharm, undeceive, undo, unspell, wake up
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