March 09, 2013
discombobulate (verb)
\diss-kum-BAHB-yuh-layt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: upset, confuse
How do you use it?
The change in climate from Florida to Alaska discombobulated Ricky at first but eventually he got used to it.
Are you a word wiz?

Word experts aren't certain how we got the word "discombobulate." One of the answers below states the prevailing theory of the word's origin; we made the rest up. Which do you think is the real theory?

No discombobulating you if you chose A. Though we can't be certain of where "discombobulate" comes from, evidence suggests it is probably an alteration of the word "discompose" or maybe the word "discomfit." The alteration of a familiar word into an unfamiliar word is the process by which hundreds of words are thought to have come into English. A few examples are "aquarium" (probably from "aquatic vivarium"), "gazillion" (an alteration of "zillion"), and "apron" (an alteration of "napron," from incorrect division of "a napron").
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