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 deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrability \ di-​ˌtər-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrable \ di-​ˈtər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for deter

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 Shea said the mere presence of a number or a distinctive mark could deter a thief. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Thieves nab 28 catalytic converters from buses for people with disabilities in East Hartford; thefts are growing problem in Connecticut," 5 May 2021 Critics say that could apply to election workers who make unwitting mistakes and could deter volunteers from serving in elections. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Dallas County District Attorney Creuzot, four others, come out against GOP voting bills," 29 Apr. 2021 When the dog barks, the pet owner presses a remote control that signals the collar to release ultrasonic waves which deter the dog from barking. Jennifer Nelson, Southern Living, "How Do You Stop a Dog from Barking?," 24 Apr. 2021 Too often, Realtors see pictures through a car window or on a camera phone, which can deter potential buyers since a first impression is key. Amber Randall, sun-sentinel.com, "Can you believe people try to sell their homes this way? | PHOTOS," 24 Apr. 2021 Even if the extra unemployment benefits deter some individuals from returning to work, the program provides the recipients with the means to greatly increase their spending. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Could extra unemployment until September harm the economic recovery?," 23 Apr. 2021 Concerning investors is a combination of low inventory and the rise in mortgage rates, which may deter future buyers from throwing caution to the wind. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Investors Can’t Afford the Zillow Dream," 15 Apr. 2021 Advocates hope that potential economic and political consequences could deter governors from enacting this year's wave of legislation. Priya Krishnakumar, CNN, "This record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation would affect minors the most," 15 Apr. 2021 One group tried to build an app that could deter boars with subsonic sound waves. New York Times, "Where Boars Hog the Streets," 9 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for deter

Time Traveler

The first known use of deter was circa 1547

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Statistics for deter

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deter. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on deter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deter

Nglish: Translation of deter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deter for Arabic Speakers

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