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- \

Definition of deterrence

: 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 For those flush with cash to last a lifetime, the staggering prices aren’t a deterrence. Faris Mokhtar,, "Singapore Bungalow for $45 Million. Rare Artifacts Are Extra," 23 June 2020 The line between pandemic deterrence and adventurism can be hard to draw. The Economist, "Horsemen of the apocalypse Covid-19 raises the risks of violent conflict," 18 June 2020 Gotkowska said withdrawing 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany back to the U.S. would be a blow to NATO’s defense and deterrence posture in Europe. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Baltic nations brace for US troop withdrawal as Russia waits and watches," 10 June 2020 The website for Petitti Garden Centers, with nine locations in Northeast Ohio, offers several in-depth posts regarding deer deterrence. cleveland, "Defeat deer with smart and easy landscape solutions," 4 June 2020 The ministers will discuss plans for a second wave of the coronavirus as well as other key issues such as resilience, missions and operations, and deterrence and defense, according to a NATO statement. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "North Korea digs in for return to hostilities with South Korea and US," 17 June 2020 An understanding of each other's military prowess helps create mutual deterrence as each side realizes the grim consequences of a conflict. CNN, "Beijing's military adventurism in the Himalayas is risky. The world is big enough for the rise of India and China," 4 June 2020 Russia is likely to follow a policy of ‘strategic ambiguity,’ to keep them guessing as a means of deterrence. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Nuclear arms control: What happens when US and Russia let it lapse?," 1 June 2020 Williams’ assertion that surveillance footage was being reviewed to make arrests could also be a method of deterrence, Benza said. Jane Morice |, cleveland, "It’s already hard to identify criminals caught on surveillance video. Experts say masks make it even harder.," 1 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deterrence.' 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 deterrence

1861, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deterrence

see deter

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Time Traveler for deterrence

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The first known use of deterrence was in 1861

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Statistics for deterrence

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deterrence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for deterrence


How to pronounce deterrence (audio) How to pronounce deterrence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of deterrence

: the act of making someone decide not to do something : the act of preventing a particular act or behavior from happening
politics : the policy of developing a lot of military power so that other countries will not attack your country


de·​ter·​rence | \ di-ˈtər-ən(t)s, -ˈter-; -ˈtə-rən(t)s; dē- \

Medical Definition of deterrence

: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment


de·​ter·​rence | \ di-ˈtər-əns, -ˈter- How to pronounce deterrence (audio) \

Legal Definition of deterrence

: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment

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Spanish Central: Translation of deterrence

Britannica English: Translation of deterrence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about deterrence

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