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 determent (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrability \ di-​ˌtər-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce deterrability (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrable \ di-​ˈtər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce deterrable (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 International institutions can help us deter our adversaries. CBS News, "Transcript: Adam Smith talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 11 Dec. 2019 For Clem, getting her hair dyed and highlighted at Dirty Blonde Salon in Boca Raton is part of her regular routine that won’t be deterred by new research that links chemicals in the dye to breast cancer risk. Cindy Krischer Goodman, orlandosentinel.com, "Is coloring your hair safe? Study links chemicals in dye, straighteners to breast cancer," 9 Dec. 2019 The Pentagon is considering sending several thousand additional troops to the Middle East to help deter Iranian aggression, amid reports of escalating violence in Iran and continued meddling by Tehran in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the region. Washington Post, "US considers sending several thousand more troops to Mideast," 6 Dec. 2019 The mere existence of those weapons could also help deter attacks. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say," 4 Dec. 2019 In some cases, the crew may pressurize the suit to help deter cases of decompression sickness. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need to Know About NASA's New Spacesuits," 16 Oct. 2019 Providing safe access to cannabis products helps deter crime, creates good jobs and increases tax revenue. Los Angeles Times, "Most Californians want marijuana stores in their communities, new poll shows," 1 Oct. 2019 Besides hosting barbeques, members of the group told WLS their constant presence was to help deter violence. Fox News, "2 mothers active in Chicago's anti-violence movement among those shot dead in weekend violence," 31 July 2019 There’s little question that Colorado’s overall wet and cool start to 2019 will help deter fire chances over the next month or two. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Colorado wildfire risk likely to be heavily reduced this summer," 12 July 2019

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

14 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Deter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deter?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=deter001. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for deter

deter

verb
How to pronounce deter (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of deter

Nglish: Translation of deter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deter for Arabic Speakers

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