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 Staff shortages have been exacerbated by pension rules that deter some clinicians from taking on extra work. The Economist, "The Tories want to be the party of the NHS," 10 Nov. 2019 But the public was fascinated and would not be deterred by the complicated nature of Einstein’s work. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "100 Years Ago, Albert Einstein Became a Legend," 5 Nov. 2019 While other attorneys turned down Stallworth’s request to represent him, Collins said he is not deterred by the nature of the crime. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Kamille McKinney: Attorney says Patrick Stallworth innocent of child’s murder," 4 Nov. 2019 To all the women/girls out there, do not be deterred from pursuing your dreams. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katie Hill Calls Out "Double Standard" and "Misogynistic Culture" in Final Speech in Congress," 31 Oct. 2019 Prosecutors urged the judge to place Webb on probation for five years, partly to deter others from such negligence. oregonlive, "Former Union Pacific plant officer who allowed gallons of oil to seep into Willamette River gets probation," 28 Oct. 2019 The metropolitan area is also surrounded by water and ridge lines that deter sprawl. Los Angeles Times, "US transit ridership is down: Can San Diego’s speedy commuter rail plan buck the trend?," 21 Oct. 2019 The metropolitan area is also surrounded by water and ridge lines that deter sprawl. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Nationwide transit ridership is plummeting: Can San Diego’s high-speed rail proposal buck the trend?," 20 Oct. 2019 His track record suggests that he was not deterred by the punishments previously imposed. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Vontaze Burfict’s Suspension Be Reduced on Appeal? Analyzing the Arguments," 2 Oct. 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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Statistics for deter

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for deter

The first known use of deter was circa 1547

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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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