deter

verb
de·​ter | \ di-ˈtər How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē- \
deterred; deterring

Definition of deter

transitive verb

1 : to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting she would not be deterred by threats
2 : inhibit painting to deter rust

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Other Words from deter

determent \ di-​ˈtər-​mənt How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrability \ di-​ˌtər-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrable \ di-​ˈtər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for deter

Synonyms

Antonyms

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The Fearful History of Deter

The word deter is rooted in fear. It was borrowed into English around the mid-16th century from the Latin verb deterrēre, which in turn was formed by combining de-, meaning "from" or "away," with terrēre, meaning "to frighten." Terrēre is also the source of terror, terrible, and even terrific, which originally meant "very bad" or "frightful." These days, you may be deterred by something that frightens you or by something that simply causes you to think about the difficult or unpleasant consequences of continuing. The word can also mean "to inhibit," as in "painting to deter rust."

Examples of deter in a Sentence

Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, the automaker in most imminent danger of failure, gave lawmakers three reasons Chapter 11 isn't an option. First, the special financing that usually tides companies over through reorganization is so scarce right now that GM might not be able to get enough to keep functioning. Second, the stigma of bankruptcy would deter consumers from buying GM cars. Third, GM is already in the midst of a dramatic reorganization that will pave the way to a profitable future. — Justin Fox, Time, 1 Dec. 2008 For some species that deter attack by being poisonous, the goal of their physical appearance is not to hide or confuse other forest creatures, but to be noticed. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 Originally developed to monitor and track cattle, radio frequency identification (RFID) is now the cutting edge in merchandise, parcel, and baggage tracking. It's debuting in stores and libraries across the country as the most effective way to track inventory and deter theft without making consumers feel like they're in a war zone. — Athan Bezaaitis, PC Magazine, January 2000 None of these tribulations deterred spectators in the least. The ancient Olympics remained immensely popular, the greatest recurring event in antiquity, from 776 b.c. (when Hercules himself was said to have founded them) until a ban on pagan festivals by Christian emperor Theodosius I in the fourth century a.d. ensured their demise—a spectacular thousand-year run. — Leigh Steinberg, Civilization, June/July 2000 Some potential buyers will be deterred by the price. Painting the metal will deter rust.
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Recent Examples on the Web But some fear plans to collect those data will deter some of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, including essential workers who are in the country illegally, from lining up for vaccination. Los Angeles Times, "Today’s Headlines: L.A. hospitals’ serious condition," 29 Dec. 2020 Last year was a very challenging year for many, but did not deter our granddaughters from attempting their first experience at water skiing and wakeboarding. Star Tribune, "Opportunity knocked for doubling the cabin fun on Mille Lacs," 4 Feb. 2021 Sanctions work, contrary to shibboleth: Governments carefully weigh the potential costs of their actions even if those costs don’t always deter them. WSJ, "A Deterrent for the Next Hackers," 22 Dec. 2020 Democrats close to the Biden team, however, say such moves from congressional Republicans are political theatrics that won’t deter the president-elect’s efforts to curb emissions. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Biden 'czars' spark GOP fears of unchecked climate agenda," 22 Dec. 2020 The employee, one of almost 300 to receive the vaccine Friday at Foundation Health Partners Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, said in a statement shared by the hospital that her experience should not deter others from getting vaccinated. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Third allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine reported in Alaska," 19 Dec. 2020 But the prosecution appealed, arguing the punishment was unduly lenient and would not deter other possible violators. DÁnica Coto, chicagotribune.com, "Cayman Islands jails US college student for violating strict COVID-19 measures," 17 Dec. 2020 But the prosecution appealed, arguing the punishment was unduly lenient and would not deter other possible violators. DÁnica Coto, ajc, "Cayman Islands jails US college student in coronavirus case," 17 Dec. 2020 But debt relief has become a major touchstone for progressives, who argue that the legal questions shouldn’t deter Biden from acting. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Biden wants to restore limits Trump trampled; progressives say ‘not so fast’," 13 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deter

circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deter

Latin deterrēre, from de- + terrēre to frighten — more at terror

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Time Traveler for deter

Time Traveler

The first known use of deter was circa 1547

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Statistics for deter

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deter. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for deter

deter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of deter

: to cause (someone) to decide not to do something
: to prevent (something) from happening

deter

verb
de·​ter | \ di-ˈtər How to pronounce deter (audio) \
deterred; deterring

Kids Definition of deter

1 : to cause (someone) not to do something Nothing deters a good man from doing what is honorable.— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
2 : to prevent (something) from happening Painting the metal will deter rust.

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More from Merriam-Webster on deter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deter

Nglish: Translation of deter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deter for Arabic Speakers

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