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

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

The initial 2008 regulation for branchless banking was highly restrictive, imposing rules and requirements that deterred most initiatives. Selin Ozyurt, Quartz Africa, "Ghana is now the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa," 9 July 2019 By registering abroad, Uber reduced its tax obligations in Mexico and deterred lawsuits from Mexican service providers. Martha Pskowski, The Verge, "Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico," 3 July 2019 In actuality, Campbell was hardly contacted but that fact didn't deter Bryan Ruiz from slipping his 52nd minute penalty kick into the left side of the net. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Gold Cup: Mexico defeats Costa Rica on penalty kicks," 30 June 2019 The injury means that Hudson-Odoi will miss the opening month of the season, but with Chelsea banned from signing players until January 2020, this has not deterred the Blues' enthusiasm for extending the contract of their young star. SI.com, "Bayern Munich Renew Interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi as Chelsea Contract Talks Continue," 28 June 2019 Until now, many of these products were only available on Amazon through third-party retailers, which deterred some beauty professionals, concerned about inadvertently buying knockoffs. Kate Dwyer, Fortune, "Amazon's New Store for Beauty Professionals: How Much of a Threat?," 26 June 2019 One problem, Zuckerberg proclaimed, is that Facebook doesn’t have a mechanism for deterring foreign governments from running influence operations. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "Zuckerberg Defends Free Speech, Even When the Speech is False," 26 June 2019 Advocates have also said that cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE can deter victims of domestic violence without legal status from coming forward for fear they could be arrested too, as was the case with one survivor last year. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "Honduras native arrested in Charlotte, charged with illegally reentering the US," 4 June 2019 But none of that has deterred Shirley or the league’s parents, coaches, or players at all. Kate Morgan, Woman's Day, "A New Jersey Softball Team Is Lifting Its City's Spirits," 21 Mar. 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

13 Jul 2019

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 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

Comments on deter

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