ˈdȯnt How to pronounce daunt (audio)
daunted; daunting; daunts

transitive verb

: to lessen the courage of : cow, subdue
obstacles that would have daunted a man of less intrepid mindAdeline Adams
Choose the Right Synonym for daunt

dismay, appall, horrify, daunt mean to unnerve or deter by arousing fear, apprehension, or aversion.

dismay implies that one is disconcerted and at a loss as to how to deal with something.

dismayed at the size of the job

appall implies that one is faced with that which perturbs, confounds, or shocks.

I am appalled by your behavior

horrify stresses a reaction of horror or revulsion.

was horrified by such wanton cruelty

daunt suggests a cowing, disheartening, or frightening in a venture requiring courage.

a cliff that would daunt the most intrepid climber

Examples of daunt in a Sentence

the raging inferno didn't daunt the firefighters for a moment
Recent Examples on the Web From serene morning walks surrounded by horses and foals being born to daunting videos of beautiful animals getting hurt in the wild, Flying L Ranch is dedicated to sharing the truth. Hilary Tetenbaum, USA TODAY, 12 May 2024 But though engineers planning spacecraft missions have used a myriad of mathematical tools, in recent decades they’ve been daunted by the increasing abstraction of symplectic geometry. Leila Sloman, WIRED, 5 May 2024 Lesser prosecutors would have been daunted by the prospect of creating a national melodrama and a norm-breaking prosecution of a former president over what is, in essence, a misdemeanor business-records charge. Rich Lowry, National Review, 15 Apr. 2024 The software is in a pilot phase, and Samaraweera said the path ahead remains daunting now that a seemingly endless tide of money that once flooded into Silicon Valley has dwindled. Brian Cheung, NBC News, 13 Mar. 2024 Researching schools may seem daunting with all those options, but there are several places to look for basic information and helpful details. The Arizona Republic, 2 Jan. 2024 Will moviegoers be daunted by eight hours of John, Paul, George and Ringo on the big screen? Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 6 Mar. 2024 As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, leaders in Kyiv are trying to find a new path forward amid ferocious Russian assaults, while facing a series of daunting unknowns and hard choices. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 Consequently, foster youth face daunting odds compared to their peers, experiencing higher rates of mental health issues, academic struggles, behavioral challenges and delinquency. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 21 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'daunt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French danter, daunter, from Latin domitare to tame, frequentative of domare — more at tame

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of daunt was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near daunt

Cite this Entry

“Daunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/daunt. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ˈdȯnt How to pronounce daunt (audio)
: to lessen the courage of : make afraid

More from Merriam-Webster on daunt

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