deter

verb
de·​ter | \di-ˈtər, 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 \ -​ˈtər-​mənt \ noun
deterrability \ -​ˌtər-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
deterrable \ -​ˈtər-​ə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for deter

Synonyms

discourage, dissuade, inhibit

Antonyms

encourage, persuade

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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

Meanwhile, the drip-drip of revelations will continue to dent the image of the GRU, but not deter it from unsavory actions, experts said. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "New blow to GRU: More Russian military spies exposed," 26 Oct. 2018 Votel did not say how many Afghan troops have been killed this year but noted that Afghan officials have said the casualties will not deter them. Robert Burns, Fox News, "American general says Afghan battlefield losses are rising," 4 Oct. 2018 Most shoppers understand that used furniture usually has minor issues, and this shouldn't deter them from moving forward with a purchase. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "An Expert's Top Advice for Selling Furniture Online," 13 Sep. 2018 And if a student makes it through that gauntlet of perils, high-stakes end-of-course exams are waiting to deter them from graduating. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 The organizers released a statement saying the city’s ban would not deter them from marching peacefully. NBC News, "Turkish police disperse LGBTI activists holding banned march," 2 July 2018 The only way to resolve that contradiction without violating the law — its letter if not its spirit — is by preventing people from arriving or deterring them from setting out on their journeys in the first place. New York Times, "In U.S. and Europe, Migration Conflict Points to Deeper Political Problems," 29 June 2018 Janet Rhumes said her group of friends from Kansas had been planning their Memorial Day weekend on Navarre Beach since October, and no tropical storm could deter them. CBS News, "Millions throughout Gulf states in Subtropical Storm Alberto's path," 28 May 2018 Having finished second the past two years at the San Diego International Triathlon, UCLA student Alexander Romanenko wasn’t going to let a little thing like a flat tire deter him Sunday morning. Don Norcross, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Third time’s a charm for Romanenko at S.D. International Triathlon," 24 June 2018

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 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deter

The first known use of deter was circa 1547

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More Definitions for deter

deter

verb

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 \
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

Comments on deter

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