\ˈtȯnt, ˈtänt\
taunted; taunting; taunts

Definition of taunt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to reproach or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at



Definition of taunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sarcastic challenge or insult

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from taunt


taunter noun
tauntingly \ˈtȯn-​tiŋ-​lē, ˈtän-​ \ adverb

Synonyms for taunt

Synonyms: Verb

bait, hassle, haze, heckle, needle, ride, tease

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for taunt


ridicule, deride, mock, taunt mean to make an object of laughter of. ridicule implies a deliberate often malicious belittling. consistently ridiculed everything she said deride suggests contemptuous and often bitter ridicule. derided their efforts to start their own business mock implies scorn often ironically expressed as by mimicry or sham deference. youngsters began to mock the helpless wino taunt suggests jeeringly provoking insult or challenge. hometown fans taunted the visiting team

Taunt vs. Taut


Taunt and taut may easily be confused. The words are similar in spelling and pronunciation, though the resemblance does not extent to their syntax or meanings. Taut is an adjective that is most often used to refer to something that is pulled tight, like "a taut rope," or is bulging or filled to capacity, like "taut muscles." Taunt is a noun and a verb that refers to teasing or making fun of a person. That the two words sound similar creates confusion, and taunt, being the more common word, is sometimes substituted for taut. You can remember the difference between the two by remembering that tight and taut both lack the n of taunt.

Examples of taunt in a Sentence


The boys continually taunted each other.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After the rapper allegedly assaulted her, Greene said she was pushed out of the bus and Nelly threw a $100 bill at her and taunted her from a bus window, according to the suit. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Rapper Nelly settles sexual-assault lawsuit with Seattle-area woman," 28 Sep. 2018 As others hid in a closet, Mr. Pagourtzis taunted them through the closet’s glass window when their phones began buzzing. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "‘Don’t Scream’: How the Texas School Shooting Unfolded," 20 May 2018 After surviving an assassination attempt in September, Mr. Bolsonaro, 63, has mostly campaigned from his Rio de Janeiro home, firing up supporters and taunting adversaries via social media. Samantha Pearson And Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, "Antiestablishment Candidate Wins Brazil’s Presidential Race," 28 Oct. 2018 The lumpy, grey compression socks call my name like a mermaid’s taunting siren song to a weary sailor. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "What It’s Like to Take the Longest Flight in the World," 26 Oct. 2018 Bryan Banville in particular seems to be everywhere in roles from snippy narrator to extra-sensitive prince to taunting French knight. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Spamalot' induces more than canned laughter in Cygnet revival," 2 July 2018 Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader, has got better at taunting Mrs May for her indecision and cabinet splits. The Economist, "Theresa May postpones the tricky Brexit decisions again," 14 June 2018 But Facebook employees have had to endure months of taunting from Cook, and to date the company has mostly suffered in silence. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How China complicates Apple’s chest-thumping about privacy," 25 Oct. 2018 Allegations have surfaced that several teenagers taunted the boy in Claremont with racial slurs on Aug. 28 and then pushed him off a picnic table with a rope around his neck. Fox News, "Report done on boy's near-hanging, but not released," 15 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If the appearance of amorous songs of tribute for Osorio felt remarkable, so, too, did the sudden absence of another chant — the homophobic taunt that Mexico fans have traditionally cried out in unison whenever opponents take goal kicks. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "Love Story: Mexico Wins Again and Its Fans Roar for the Coach," 24 June 2018 Although Huntsville was by then a major center for the U.S. Army’s space-and-rocket program, Alabama was still a deep South state, and the Odutola children were exposed for the first time to racial taunts and bullying. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Reimagining Black Experience in the Radical Drawings of Toyin Ojih Odutola," 17 July 2018 Holder-Joffrion attempted to continue her prayer, only to be met with more taunts. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Alabama Man Arrested After Pulling Gun, Shouting 'Womp Womp' at Immigration Rally," 2 July 2018 All in the name of a game that repeatedly exposed him to the n-word, a refusal of service in a Baltimore restaurant, and street taunts from strangers in Boston. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's Willie O'Ree broke NHL color barrier, charted path to hockey Hall," 26 June 2018 Letting a dog taunt the croc puts the dog in avoidable danger. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Crocodile eats small dog that spent years chasing it back into river," 7 June 2018 Though there was none of the guttural cheering and angry taunts that often emanate from Mr. Trump’s campaign-style rallies, the president’s hallmark rhetoric and propensity to stretch the truth was also ever-present. Astead W. Herndon, New York Times, "Trumpism Finds a Safe Space at Conservative Women’s Conference," 17 June 2018 Biden refrained from re-upping his taunts in an appearance Thursday in Washington, just blocks from the White House. Mike Cason, AL.com, "Gov. Kay Ivey signs bill to allow execution by nitrogen hypoxia," 22 Mar. 2018 The incident at Gill Coliseum comes amid racist taunts at multiple other recent sporting events around the country. Danny Moran, OregonLive.com, "Oregon State bans fan from 2 women's basketball games after 'derogatory statements' at USC Trojans player," 26 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taunt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of taunt


1539, in the meaning defined above


circa 1527, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taunt


perhaps from Middle French tenter to try, tempt — more at tempt

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about taunt

Dictionary Entries near taunt






Taunton turkey


Statistics for taunt

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taunt

The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for taunt



English Language Learners Definition of taunt

: to say insulting things to (someone) in order to make that person angry


\ˈtȯnt \

Kids Definition of taunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a mean insulting remark


taunted; taunting

Kids Definition of taunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make fun of or say insulting things to

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on taunt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taunt

Spanish Central: Translation of taunt

Nglish: Translation of taunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taunt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on taunt

What made you want to look up taunt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!