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

In today’s edition, our five stories explore globalism (the Amazon fires), deterrence (Iran vs. Israel), equal treatment (the racial politics of justice), urban wildlife (raccoons in Toronto), and whimsy (competitive whistling). The Christian Science Monitor, "Mountain climbing with Spirit," 30 Aug. 2019 This did not matter too much for nuclear deterrence, because only the leaders of the United States and USSR had decision-making authority. Daniel W. Drezner, Twin Cities, "Daniel Drezner: This trade war will get out of control," 7 Aug. 2019 But if the defense secretary can’t get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, his only option, other than war, may be a return to the strategy the U.S. used for decades against the Soviet Union: containment and deterrence. Zachary Fryer-biggs, Newsweek, "Can James Mattis Prevent Nuclear War With North Korea?," 14 Feb. 2018 The drug regimen also appeared to prevent patients from passing along TB within days of starting treatment—a significant deterrence given the ease with which TB bacteria spreads from one person to another. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "F.D.A. Approves New Treatment for Deadliest Strain of Tuberculosis," 15 Aug. 2019 In cities that have continued and expanded their investments in focused deterrence, the gains have lasted. Michelle A. Williams And Mary T. Bassett, Twin Cities, "Williams, Bassett: Gun violence can be reduced with public health techniques," 5 Aug. 2019 His help defense appeared more predicated on shot blocking than true deterrence, leaping out of position to a frustrating degree. Michael Shapiro,, "Sophomore Check-In: Assessing Expectations for Luka Doncic, Trae Young in Year 2," 26 July 2019 Ancient Persians invited breezes by throwing up clouds of saffron, while traditional Inuit storm deterrence relied on jars of urine and seaweed whips. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 22 July 2019 The policy does not have the same goals as federal or state court systems, which focus on justice, punishment, predictability, compensation, deterrence and similar objectives. Michael Mccann,, "Could Roger Goodell Change Mind in Disciplining Ezekiel Elliott After Pressed Charges?," 16 July 2019

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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Statistics for deterrence

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for deterrence

The first known use of deterrence was in 1861

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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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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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