deterrence

noun

de·​ter·​rence di-ˈtər-ən(t)s How to pronounce deterrence (audio) -ˈter- How to pronounce deterrence (audio)
-ˈtə-rən(t)s,
-ˈte-;
dē-
: the act or process of deterring: such as
a
: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment
b
: the maintenance of military power for the purpose of discouraging attack
nuclear deterrence

Examples of deterrence in a Sentence

The author argues that deterrence is no longer the best way to prevent war.
Recent Examples on the Web The Pentagon will provide the president with a variety of options designed to restore deterrence, none of which will totally obviate the risk of a spiraling confrontation with Iran. The Editors, National Review, 29 Jan. 2024 For many in Pakistan, the unprovoked nature of the attack gave Islamabad no choice but to establish deterrence. Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Jan. 2024 They are aimed at bolstering the countries’ deterrence and response capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat as well as maritime threats, according to the South Korean military. Min Joo Kim, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 Conservatives have made deterrence one of their flagship issues ahead of an election planned for this year. Megan Specia, New York Times, 14 Jan. 2024 Instead of stopping attacks against U.S. troops and diplomats, weak U.S. responses have eroded deterrence and created an incentive to attack Americans. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, 12 Jan. 2024 The devastation of Gaza has probably reinforced deterrence: Hezbollah may not want to risk its strongholds in Beirut looking like the moonscape that is much of Gaza today. Daniel Byman, Foreign Affairs, 21 Dec. 2023 Yet even with progress on digital defenses, enforcement, and deterrence, the ransomware attacks, business email compromises, and malware infections keep on coming. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, 14 Dec. 2023 Photo: florence lo/pool/Shutterstock Gambling that no conflict happens in the Indo-Pacific is a dangerous bet unless the U.S. maintains effective military deterrence. WSJ, 5 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

see deter

First Known Use

1861, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deterrence was in 1861

Dictionary Entries Near deterrence

Cite this Entry

“Deterrence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deterrence. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

deterrence

noun
de·​ter·​rence di-ˈtər-ən(t)s How to pronounce deterrence (audio) -ˈter- How to pronounce deterrence (audio)
: the act, process, or capability of deterring

Medical Definition

deterrence

noun
de·​ter·​rence
di-ˈtər-ən(t)s, -ˈter-; -ˈtə-rən(t)s; dē-
: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment

Legal Definition

deterrence

noun
de·​ter·​rence di-ˈtər-əns, -ˈter- How to pronounce deterrence (audio)
: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment

More from Merriam-Webster on deterrence

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!