\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

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Other Words from taunt


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

Synonyms for taunt

Synonyms: Verb

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

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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

As a youngster, Brady, his mother and her third husband moved to Danville, where he was taunted for his gangly appearance and farm boy nature. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "'Kill-Crazy' Brady gang tried to out-gangster John Dillinger," 29 June 2018 Were a black man from Senegal to open a classic French restaurant in Portland, would he be taunted for exalting his colonial masters? WSJ, "Portland’s Folly on Cultural ‘Appropriation’," 8 June 2018 USA TODAY Sports Russell Westbrook was taunted by Mitt Romney on Monday night, but the former Republican presidential candidate is the least of his troubles. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Russell Westbrook is losing everything vs. Jazz, even trash-talk battle with Mitt Romney," 24 Apr. 2018 Family members of one of the victims, Salvatore DiNubile, a junior at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, say they have been taunted with a stream of inflammatory social media posts and a menacing anonymous phone call. Chris Palmer, Philly.com, "Threats, taunts, tears: Families of slain South Philly teens struggling 6 months later," 20 Apr. 2018 By Round 5, Gabriels started showing fatigue and sluggishness, and by the sixth round, Shields was taunting her opponent to step up and box her more aggressively. Brandon Folsom, Detroit Free Press, "Claressa Shields knocked down, but fights back to beat Hanna Gabriels," 23 June 2018 Cold case: Indiana child killer who taunted police featured on Investigation Discovery IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack contributed to this story. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "IMPD investigating officer involved in alleged profiling incident at swimming pool," 13 July 2018 Here was Cicerone, a 23-year-old who's started one league match for Futbol Club Cincinnati, taunting Hoyte, the team's oldest player and a proven English Premier League talent. Charlie Hatch, Cincinnati.com, "Russell Cicerone's surge into the FC Cincinnati starting lineup isn't going unnoticed," 16 June 2018 Brash, impulsive leaders who only a few months ago taunted each other across a nuclear abyss, Trump and Kim had set aside their threats in a gamble that for now, at least, personal diplomacy could counteract decades of enmity and distrust. Mark Landler, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump, Kim Jong Un sign a joint declaration at summit," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While tensions on the Korean Peninsula have eased recently as North Korea participated in the Winter Olympics, Trump and Kim have exchanged bellicose taunts in past months. Kanga Kong, Bloomberg.com, "Seoul Urges Caution on North Korea Ahead of Envoys’ U.S. Visit," 7 Mar. 2018 And with that anonymity has come racist, sexist and anti-Semitic taunts and attacks, as well as full-fledged campaigns from trolls, individuals or groups whose primary intent is to sow discord on social media platforms. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette gunman constantly harassed journalists on Twitter. Why wasn't he stopped?," 29 June 2018 Many of these residents fled trauma in their native countries only to endure trauma in America from racist taunts and violence, and now, the constant specter of detainment and deportation. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "There Are Few Second Chances for Immigrants Who Commit Crimes," 27 June 2018 But each has nuclear weapons and mixes taunts and tributes to keep the other off balance. Philip Rucker, The Seattle Times, "The ‘dotard’ meets ‘Little Rocket Man’: Trump and Kim are adversaries with many similarities," 10 June 2018 Accept the jibes and taunts from other teams from around the world. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Whatever you do this World Cup, don't root for Mexico," 15 June 2018 That forced the postponement of a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, with whom Trump traded Twitter taunts this week. Jackie Calmes, latimes.com, "Trump calls for Russia's reinstatement, adding to deep tensions with allies at G-7 summit," 8 June 2018 Footage emerged on Saturday which showed Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher aiming a mouthful of spit from the window of his car into another car driving alongside him - retaliating to taunts from the motorist. SI.com, "Driver Involved in Jamie Carragher Spit-Gate Set to Be Quizzed by Police for 'Using Mobile Phone'," 13 Mar. 2018 Wasn’t afraid of the whispers, the taunts, the shadow that follows him around the state. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Damon Bailey's son Brayton thrives in dad's Indiana basketball shadow," 11 July 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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near taunt






Taunton turkey


Statistics for taunt

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taunt

The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

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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

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