\ 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

Clark, who taunted jurors to sentence him to death, is facing execution for torturing and drowning an East Texas woman in his bathtub and then stuffing her body into a barrel. Fox News, "Texas executes man in the torture, drowning of ex-roommate," 28 Sep. 2018 The former Liverpool defender was seen spitting at a Manchester United fan who was taunting him following the Reds 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. SI.com, "Jamie Carragher Suspended by Sky Sports for the Rest of the Season Following Spit-Gate Controversy," 14 Mar. 2018 The reigning favorite among the millennial Halloween movie set is probably Hocus Pocus, with which we are perennially taunted when rumors of a sequel inevitably circulate. Vogue, "Where Your Favorite Millennial Halloween Movie Stars Are Now," 23 Oct. 2018 The fine Thomas received was the set number for a first-offense taunting penalty. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Earl Thomas fined for bow against Dallas," 2 Oct. 2018 My hair abided by the rules that were required for social success, for friends at lunchtime, for kids to stop taunting me in classrooms. Elaine Musiwa, Allure, "Goodbye to "Good Hair": How I Learned to Love My Natural Texture After Moving to America," 25 July 2018 The Baltic Express flew near Soviet airspace on a weekly basis, taunting the USSR’s best pilots who struggled in vain to intercept it. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Swedish Pilots Win Medals for Top Secret 1987 SR-71 Incident," 29 Nov. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Over the past few days, the social networking communities of Russian soccer fans have filled with taunts and hostile language towards minorities and teams opposing Russia. Washington Post, "Can Russia, with its history of racist attacks and hooligans, put on a World Cup welcome?," 12 June 2018 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

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

23 Jan 2019

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 complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!