deter

verb
de·​ter | \ di-ˈtər How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē- \
deterred; deterring

Definition of deter

transitive verb

1 : to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting she would not be deterred by threats
2 : inhibit painting to deter rust

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Other Words from deter

determent \ di-​ˈtər-​mənt How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrability \ di-​ˌtər-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
deterrable \ di-​ˈtər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce deter (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for deter

Synonyms

Antonyms

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The Fearful History of Deter

The word deter is rooted in fear. It was borrowed into English around the mid-16th century from the Latin verb deterrēre, which in turn was formed by combining de-, meaning "from" or "away," with terrēre, meaning "to frighten." Terrēre is also the source of terror, terrible, and even terrific, which originally meant "very bad" or "frightful." These days, you may be deterred by something that frightens you or by something that simply causes you to think about the difficult or unpleasant consequences of continuing. The word can also mean "to inhibit," as in "painting to deter rust."

Examples of deter in a Sentence

Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, the automaker in most imminent danger of failure, gave lawmakers three reasons Chapter 11 isn't an option. First, the special financing that usually tides companies over through reorganization is so scarce right now that GM might not be able to get enough to keep functioning. Second, the stigma of bankruptcy would deter consumers from buying GM cars. Third, GM is already in the midst of a dramatic reorganization that will pave the way to a profitable future. — Justin Fox, Time, 1 Dec. 2008 For some species that deter attack by being poisonous, the goal of their physical appearance is not to hide or confuse other forest creatures, but to be noticed. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 Originally developed to monitor and track cattle, radio frequency identification (RFID) is now the cutting edge in merchandise, parcel, and baggage tracking. It's debuting in stores and libraries across the country as the most effective way to track inventory and deter theft without making consumers feel like they're in a war zone. — Athan Bezaaitis, PC Magazine, January 2000 None of these tribulations deterred spectators in the least. The ancient Olympics remained immensely popular, the greatest recurring event in antiquity, from 776 b.c. (when Hercules himself was said to have founded them) until a ban on pagan festivals by Christian emperor Theodosius I in the fourth century a.d. ensured their demise—a spectacular thousand-year run. — Leigh Steinberg, Civilization, June/July 2000 Some potential buyers will be deterred by the price. Painting the metal will deter rust. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Our natural right is for our people to respond to the crimes of the occupation, to deter it, and to defend our rights. Amir Tal, Abeer Salman, Mike Schwartz, CNN, 6 May 2022 Before the invasion, much of the conversation was centered on how the disclosures might deter Putin from attacking in the first place, and how transparency might restore trust in American bona fides. James Harkin, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 What should Biden ask of America's allies, as the free world tries to deter further aggression and see Ukraine through the conflict? Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2022 Some even worried that the sanctions intended to deter and weaken Putin could end up emboldening and strengthening him. Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2022 Democracies must also provide more protection for journalists and researchers working to uncover Russian corruption within our societies, especially by ending oligarchs’ prolific use of vexatious lawsuits to deter and impoverish opponents. Nate Sibley, National Review, 23 Feb. 2022 The 18th Airborne Corps said these are combat-capable forces who stand ready to enhance NATO's ability to deter and defeat Russian aggression. ABC News, 6 Feb. 2022 The Trojans put 6-9 senior Drew Peterson on him and forced the lefty to his right, playing a step off to deter the drive and staying down on his pump fakes, instead daring him to shoot over a bigger body. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Jan. 2022 Around the world, government agencies are recognizing the need to improve cybersecurity in order to identify, protect against, deter and respond to threats in both the public and private sectors. Anurag Lal, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deter.' 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 deter

circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deter

Latin deterrēre, from de- + terrēre to frighten — more at terror

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Learn More About deter

Time Traveler for deter

Time Traveler

The first known use of deter was circa 1547

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Dictionary Entries Near deter

détenu

deter

deterge

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Statistics for deter

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deter. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for deter

deter

verb
de·​ter | \ di-ˈtər How to pronounce deter (audio) \
deterred; deterring

Kids Definition of deter

1 : to cause (someone) not to do something Nothing deters a good man from doing what is honorable.— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
2 : to prevent (something) from happening Painting the metal will deter rust.

More from Merriam-Webster on deter

Nglish: Translation of deter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deter for Arabic Speakers

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