\ 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

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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

Verb The boys continually taunted each other.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican who was one of the most vocal proponents of impeaching Bill Clinton, even used the memo to taunt the president’s wife. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "'You cannot make up my life': Hillary Clinton's ties to impeachment inquiries against three presidents," 26 Oct. 2019 Using lynching to taunt other African Americans is by no means unique to the murder of Williams. al, "Montgomery memorial shows how wrong Trump was about ‘lynching'," 22 Oct. 2019 Using lynching to taunt other African Americans is by no means unique to the murder of Williams. Gillian Brockell, The Denver Post, "Analysis: More than 4,000 people have been lynched in the U.S. Trump isn’t one of them.," 22 Oct. 2019 The wild card in Hal’s plans is the Dauphin, the heir to the French throne, played against type with a dazzling demented glee by Pattinson, who misses no opportunity to taunt the young king from across the English Channel. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The King’ makes Timothée Chalamet the ruler of all he surveys," 10 Oct. 2019 In order to taunt Gordon, Joker shoots and paralyzes Gordon’s daughter Barbara, ending her career as Batgirl. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Joker Has Always Been a Controversial Character. This Time, It’s Different," 8 Oct. 2019 Ziggler continued to taunt Goldberg after the match, which caused him to return to the ring on two separate occasions to spear Ziggler again. Aaron Oster, baltimoresun.com, "Seth Rollins cleanly beats Brock Lesnar, regains title at WWE Summerslam," 12 Aug. 2019 The rapper and fanatical supporter of his hometown Toronto Raptors has become a lively fixture of playoff coverage, frequently exploding outside of his courtside seat to taunt other players. Myles Tanzer, WSJ, "How to Dress Like an NBA Villain," 11 June 2019 On one occasion a fairly young male baboon climbed up into a palm where David and William were feeding and began to taunt William, going up to him, barking and hitting out at him. National Geographic, "Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today," 17 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Angry at his Ukraine predicament, Trump can only summon the taunts most of us left behind in elementary school. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 7 Nov. 2019 Matthew could remember a time, two or three years ago, when her eyes would moisten during these ceaseless, unrelenting, daily taunts. David Canfield, EW.com, "See the anticipated cover for Harlan Coben's next page-turner," 5 Nov. 2019 On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough described the crowd’s taunts of the president as un-American. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Two Tales of Booing. Two Very Different Views.," 30 Oct. 2019 When Republican legislators held their annual retreat in Baltimore earlier this month, Center Stage issued an invitation to the lawmakers that managed to be both a veiled taunt and a model of polite manners. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "'Art is not neutral’: Baltimore Center Stage kicks off season by stepping into the political arena," 26 Sep. 2019 Lincoln High School cheer and drill team members were the first to report the taunts on social media. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Clemente High investigation confirms S.D. students were taunted with racial slurs at football game," 21 Sep. 2019 Rubio off their perches as golden boys of the Republican establishment, and Rubio responded with crude taunts of his own. Jazmine Ulloa, BostonGlobe.com, "Could those unwieldy Democratic debates boost Trump’s cause?," 1 Aug. 2019 The racist schoolyard taunt carried a disturbing message: that Omar, the other lawmakers in question, and non-white American citizens by extension are only conditional members of the American political community. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Cynical War on American Citizenship," 30 July 2019 Our reporters regularly face taunts and threats inside police stations. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A year on, #MeToo has lost momentum in India but we must keep the conversation going," 4 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for taunt

Time Traveler

The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

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Statistics for taunt

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Taunt.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taunted. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for taunt


How to pronounce taunt (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taunt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taunt

Spanish Central: Translation of taunt

Nglish: Translation of taunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taunt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on taunt

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not agreeing with established beliefs

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