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  • Adj.

discombobulated

dis-kuhm-BOB-yuh-lay-tid

Context
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Jack was so discombobulated or confused when he woke up in the hospital because he didn’t remember how he had gotten there. When the doctor asked him some easy questions, he looked discombobulated, uncomfortable, and distressed because he couldn’t remember anything. However, after a few days he returned to his calm, normal self, his memory returned, and he no longer felt discombobulated or unsettled.

Quiz: How do you feel if you are discombobulated?

  • You feel somewhat shy and hesitant around certain people—at least for the first few moments.
  • You feel uncertain and powerless about how to handle a long-term situation.
  • You feel surprised and excited about a new opportunity.
Definition

Memory Hook
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Discomfort! Bob's Late! Bob felt discombobulated because he got lost on the way to his boss's party, which caused Bob great discomfort.

Examples
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  • The quarterback got rattled, the running game got stuffed, the defense got discombobulated, and there was no question which team was superior. —Sports Illustrated
  • There is something very odd—almost discombobulated—about being surrounded by standing homes, plentiful food and all around privileged people when the memory of the devastation in Port-au-Prince is still so fresh in my mind. —CNN
  • When she arrives, she is clearly discombobulated. She excuses her anxiety and confusion by saying to the village aunties, "I'm tired. Jet lag. You understand?" They stare at her blankly. —NPR
  • Last Sunday, it seemed that the Browns had finally turned a corner following an impressive victory over AFC North rival Baltimore. Instead, Cleveland returned to looking completely discombobulated on Monday, with a series of bumbling miscues. —ESPN

Word Ingredients
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dis- apart
com- thoroughly
-ate make someone have a certain quality

This word is probably a fanciful alteration of the word “discomposed.” When one is discombobulated, one is certainly “discomposed,” that is, one is “thoroughly placed apart” from one’s usual settled state.

Word Constellation
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Discombobulated

Word Variants
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discombobulate v to throw into a state of confusion