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ˈtȯnt How to pronounce taunt (audio)
taunted; taunting; taunts

transitive verb

: to reproach or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at
taunter noun
tauntingly adverb


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: a sarcastic challenge or insult

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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.

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

Examples of taunt in a Sentence

Verb The boys continually taunted each other.
Recent Examples on the Web
The prospective debates did come together rather quickly after Biden issued a taunting challenge and Trump immediately agreed to two face-to-face meetings. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2024 Meanwhile, these insufferable strangers clowning and taunting Mowry for leaving a relationship that was no longer serving her have no idea what the dynamics of that relationship actually were. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for taunt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'taunt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1539, in the meaning defined above


circa 1527, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

Dictionary Entries Near taunt

Cite this Entry

“Taunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taunt. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to provoke or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at
taunt noun
taunter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on taunt

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