Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English

Hi dear English learners! Here we are again with a new vocabulary lesson. It is about the ways to talk about disappointment in English. Although it’s a sad topic, we all get disappointed sometimes; so I suppose it could be a good reason to learn different ways to talk about disappointment in English. How easy do you get disappointed? What is a disappointment? It is a feeling when you feel unhappy because your hopes and expectation don’t come true. Not all disappointments are the same; some are bigger and some are smaller. A small disappointment is, for example,  when you watch a movie that doesn’t meet your expectations, so you can say that you are disappointed or that the movie was a disappointment. However, when your hopes and dreams in life turn out wrong, or when someone very dear to you dies, we can talk about big disappointment.  

You can be disappointed with or by something: 

  • I’m so disappointed with/by the new player of Manchester United. 

The adjective disappointed can be followed by a that-clause:

  • We were so disappointed that the guide didn’t show us really important sights.

or by an infinitive:

  • When they got home, they were very disappointed to find it robbed.

Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English

Synonyms for disappointed


Someone can become disillusioned when they lose trust in someone or something.

  • The disillusioned children of disturbed marriages suffer later in their adult lives.

A discontented person is someone who is not satisfied with something and wishes for something different.

  • Some people may be contented with their private life and at the same time be discontented about politics and the way things are dealt with in the country.
Disheartened / downhearted

A disheartened person is someone who lost hope and enthusiasm because things don’t seem to get any better.

  • Sarah remembered how disheartened she felt when she saw the doctor’s findings.
  • After so many years of searching for their lost child, they felt pretty much downhearted.

Dissatisfied people are unhappy and frustrated about something because it is not what they expect it to be.

  • The manager of a department store got hundreds of complaints from dissatisfied customers every day.
Be/feel let down

A person who is let down is disappointed because things are not as they expected them to be.

  • The victims of the accident felt let down by the staff of the hospital and the treatment they experienced.

A saddened person is disappointed by something.

  • Mark was deeply saddened by the news about the war in his country but he tried to keep up with his everyday work routine as if everything was normal.
Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English
Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English

Expressing disappointment in English

We can use all kinds of words and phrases to express disappointment but here are the most common ones:

That is so disappointing / such a disappointment
  • It was so disappointing to find that the main character dies at the end of the book.
  • The hotel was good, but the rocky beach was such a disappointment; nothing like the advert.
Not live up to your expectations

If something didn’t live up to your expectations, then it wasn’t as good as you hoped or expected it to be.

  • The food in the restaurant you recommended didn’t live up to our expectations. It was tasteless and bland.
Have high hopes

If you had high hopes for something, then you believe that someone or something will be successful.

  • Very often people get disappointed because of their high hopes and expectations.
Something is a letdown

A letdown is a disappointment.

  • Not being allowed to watch the football game due to the pandemic was a huge letdown for Brian.
I wish / if only

We normally use “I wish” and ‘if only” to express regrets and disappointment because we want things to be different than they are in real life.

  • I wish I worked somewhere else. I don’t have any opportunities at this dead-end job.
  • If only she had accepted my marriage proposal. We could’ve been so happy!
What a pity/shame
  • I expected so much from our basketball team. What a pity they didn’t win any medals in the Olympics.
  • Some islands in the Pacific Ocean no longer exist due to climate change. What a shame!
What a waste!
  • That man turned into a criminal. What a waste of money on his education.
What a bummer!
  • I left my phone at work. What a bummer!
That’s too bad!
  • It’s too bad you couldn’t come with us to the party. We had a whale of a time!
I was looking forward to it, but…
  • I was really looking forward to our holiday, but when we got there I got measles and had to stay in quarantine all the time. 
Something promises more than it delivers
  • Unfortunately, the advert for a skiing resort promised much more than it delivered. The staff was unfriendly and the food was awful. What a disappointment!
Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English
Ways to Talk about Disappointment in English

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