I am not sure if it is natural to use "discombobulating" (and its derivatives) in daily English (I find this word really nice-sounding). Or is it appropriate in formal English? In storytelling language?

For example, is it appropriate to have sentences like:

  1. People nowadays are often discombobulated by information that comes from different sources on the Internet (This sentence maybe in a formal essay)

  2. People here are quite discombobulating to me. They used to be very nice to me, but after some time, they became incomprehensibly distant. (Maybe in my blog)

Thank you so much :) If there are problems with my sentences, please also help me.

  • 1
    In formal English, use confuse. Keep these words for storytelling, etc.
    – Mick
    Nov 30, 2016 at 13:59
  • Thank you Mick. Can you please help me make a sentence you would use the word? Thanks again! Nov 30, 2016 at 14:03
  • Just write a sentence containing confuse, etc, and make the substitution.
    – Mick
    Nov 30, 2016 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Discombobulate is a great word (opinion) but it is neither a word for a formal essay nor a everyday speech.

It is inappropriate for a formal essay as it is a humorous or fanciful made up word which is not widely used; and it does not fit into everyday speech for those reasons and because is unnecessarily verbose (it is a rather long word, conveying something typically better conveyed by shorter words).

Discombobulate's niche usage is both stressing it's meaning within a sentence and somewhat making fun of subject.

To use discombobulate in speech requires stressing tone to make it clear the sentence is lighthearted.

As for an example, find it yourself, Google is a great tool ;)

  • Thank you so much Nat.... for your very detailed answer (y). It helps me a lot! Nov 30, 2016 at 15:41
  • Actual examples (or a link to some) would be good. Telling the user "do it yourself" may be fine in a comment, but not in an answer.
    – Mick
    Nov 30, 2016 at 16:07

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