\ ˈtȯnt How to pronounce taunt (audio) , 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 How to pronounce tauntingly (audio) , 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

The paintings’ monumental size and prominent placement in the museum seemed specifically intended to taunt a viewer expecting to find a serious theme treated seriously. Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 2019 In December, a federal jury awarded $475,000 in damages to a female process operator at a Shell refinery in California who alleged she was taunted, belittled and told repeatedly that women didn't belong there. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Lawsuits allege lewd photos, insulting graffiti and sexist comments made ExxonMobil’s Joliet Refinery an inhospitable workplace for women," 21 June 2019 Over the years taunting notes were left around the area confessing to the crime and threatening to kill again. Ruth Ravve, Fox News, "Cold case suspect charged with murder of eight-year-old Indiana girl thanks to modern DNA technology breakthrough," 19 July 2018 Officials said there was no indication that the victims taunted the big cat, CBS News correspondent DeMarco Morgan reports. CBS News, "911 calls reveal how man scrambled to get help for friend killed in cougar attack," 23 May 2018 Michael Jordan was motivated by slights, all the way to his sneering, taunting speech in front of his shocked old rivals when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "LeBron James showed his greatness in Cleveland Cavaliers biggest win: Bill Livingston (photos)," 22 Mar. 2018 What some fans may not know is that at least two of the actresses taunting Gaga at the video’s outset, Jessica Drake and Alekra Blue, found their fame as established actresses in the adult film industry. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "10 Popular Music Videos That Feature Porn Stars," 14 Mar. 2018 On Sunday, a national television broadcast picked up audio of a fan at a Cleveland Cavaliers game racially taunting San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills. Danny Moran, OregonLive.com, "Oregon State bans fan from 2 women's basketball games after 'derogatory statements' at USC Trojans player," 26 Feb. 2018 Outside Ebbing, Missouri From writer-director Martin McDonagh, a timely if scabrous story about a small-town woman (Frances McDormand) taunting the cops (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell) who have failed to solve her daughter's murder. Philly.com, "Movies: New and Noteworthy," 19 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some failed to properly identify the tea-sipping taunt, comparing it instead to a drag on a cigarette. George Ramsay, CNN, "Alex Morgan taunts British tea-drinking tradition with goal celebration," 3 July 2019 Trump, who is best known on the world stage for taunts and insults, has sought to infuse some levity into this confab of leaders representing the world’s largest economies at a time of trade wars, rising tensions with Iran and other challenges. Eli Stokols, latimes.com, "‘Don’t meddle in the election,’ Trump tells Putin with a smile," 28 June 2019 Escaping the taunts of fans in New York, Dean moves to the town where his childhood best friend, Andy, lives, and moves into Evvie's spare room. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Evvie Drake Starts Over," 20 June 2019 Once again, Wahlberg seems to be happily ignoring McGregor’s taunts. Lillian Brown, BostonGlobe.com, "Conor McGregor challenges Mark Wahlberg to a fight — again," 11 June 2019 There were taunts and shouts along the way, but that is not unusual in an NBA game. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "8 key moments that sparked Rockets-Clippers confrontation," 16 Jan. 2018 Who cares how both sides spin the outcome, claim bragging rights, issue the cleverest taunt? Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "End This Stupid Shutdown," 10 Jan. 2019 The book also goes into gang culture on social media, which include taunts to rival gangs on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube, according to the commission survey. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, "Crime commission book lists 'worst of the worst' in Chicago gangs," 12 June 2018 The Left and the Greens, in particular, have chosen to match some of the AfD’s tactics, issuing their own taunts and mocking guffaws. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "The far right is back in the German parliament, bringing taunts, insults and laughter," 8 June 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

10 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce taunt (audio) \

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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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

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