\ 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

Trump’s tweet showing the aftermath of Thursday’s explosion at the Imam Khomeini Space Center drew a taunting tweet from Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi. Jon Gambrell, chicagotribune.com, "Trump tweets high-quality, possibly declassified surveillance photo of Iranian rocket launch pad," 31 Aug. 2019 The results of the Facebook search warrant also revealed the man had been sending taunting messages to Ibex even as Ibex was approaching the victim’s home, according to charging documents. Jon Kelvey, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "New Windsor man arrested on burglary, assault charges from 2018 incident," 26 July 2019 The immigration officer who taunted her and three other women told them the law had changed, that their children would be taken away, and that they would be deported, the claim alleges. Nomaan Merchant, The Seattle Times, "Separated migrant families demand millions from US agencies," 11 Feb. 2019 Parents and students of Santa Fe High School in Texas described how the gunman cheered himself and taunted students during the shooting that left 10 people dead and 13 injured. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "At Santa Fe High School, police had an active-shooter plan. Then the fog of chaos descended.," 21 May 2018 In other words, the best way to handle a paranoid dictator with nuclear weapons and the world’s fourth-largest army is to taunt him into becoming even more paranoid. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "How U.S. Foreign Policy Is Being Shaped by Trump’s Tweets," 19 Jan. 2018 The video was one of at least four that escalated a public debate about how restrained officers should be when they are humiliated or taunted by the public. New York Times, "They Were Singing ‘Family Reunion’ at a Block Party. Then Gunmen Opened Fire.," 28 July 2019 In 2017, a 12-year-old in New Jersey killed herself after her family said she was taunted on Instagram and Snapchat, and bullied in school. Washington Post, "More students are being bullied online, federal report says," 16 July 2019 Little kids can be mean, especially to a classmate who isn’t exactly like them, and this book shows how painful this is to the child being taunted. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "After fun in the sun, settle in with one of these good reads for little ones," 23 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

They were subjected to continuing taunts, threats, and physical violence. Bill Mears, Fox News, "The 'forgotten' Supreme Court decision and its impact on our politics," 9 Sep. 2018 But in my own case, policing schoolyard taunts would have been counterproductive. Spencer A. Klavan, The Atlantic, "Games Boys Play," 16 Aug. 2019 The companies' CEOs have even traded taunts about who will be the first to reach Mars. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "SpaceX and Boeing team up for satellite launch. Here's what brought them together," 6 Aug. 2019 Several players have been fined through the years for negative interactions with fans, such as cursing or yelling in response to taunts. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Warriors Minority Owner Barred for a Year After Shoving Toronto’s Kyle Lowry," 6 June 2019 And Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was among a large slate of candidates who competed in the Republican primary in 2016, fielding sexist taunts from then-candidate Donald Trump in the process. Li Zhou, Vox, "Climate got more time in the Democrats’ first 2020 debate than in all 2016 debates combined," 27 June 2019 LeVasseur would endure taunts about his appearance from other kids in elementary school. Michael Hamad, courant.com, "The living survivors of the Hartford circus fire still carry the scars from the tragic day. Hear their stories in this interactive oral history.," 27 June 2019 At a press conference earlier this month, the teens alleged the group of adults initiated the situation by yelling taunts. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al.com, "2 more suspects charged in kayaking trip assault," 17 June 2019 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

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

4 Sep 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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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