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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
Soon after, Rockets forward Tari Eason taunted them in a social media video with the classic Warriorrs! Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 4 Apr. 2024 Such readings seem almost chilly enough to arouse recollections of winter, and perhaps to suggest that January might still lurk nearby, concealed in the shadows, ready to taunt and mock the fanciers of spring. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 No thoughts, besides appreciation for the rooks who taunt him from his field. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 11 Mar. 2024 Investigators had analyzed the footage of a man boasting and taunting his victim. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2024 Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, city leaders have launched an investigation after members of the Utah women's basketball team say they were subjected to racial slurs from two men who also taunted them using their trucks as players were stepping out for a meal. Jade Lawson, ABC News, 26 Mar. 2024 The website is personified on-screen by a cartoonish figure (Larry Owens) who taunts poor Alejandro with nonsensical ramblings. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2024 Page has also received flak for his lackadaisical nature and flamboyant movements seemingly taunting and goading opponents. Ben Morse, CNN, 7 Mar. 2024 If this weren’t sad enough, the clanging piano chords—loping around in circular motion—taunt her dead-end state. Joshua Minsoo Kim, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2024
But a fight on Thursday on a speeding A train in Brooklyn that started with those taunts did not end there. Michael Wilson, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2024 Marchers were subjected to racist taunts, heckling and violence. Amy Schwabe, Journal Sentinel, 7 Feb. 2024 Some were shouting taunts or making obscene gestures. Marianne Levine, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2024 Over the years, from inside and outside prison, Navalny got under Putin’s skin as few other critics managed to do, daring to level taunts at the Russian leader alleging graft in his inner circle that were more direct and pointed than any opposition figure before him. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 During Saturday’s game, a dramatic 113-112 Warriors victory, Green and Nurkic went back and forth with taunts. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 No one should have to listen to a few people – standing bravely behind fake names – lob racist or misogynistic taunts at them, or others. Greg Borowski, Journal Sentinel, 31 Jan. 2024 Later, when Nurkic disrespectfully turned his back to Green when the Warriors forward had the ball on the perimeter, Green scored over him and traded the taunt back. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 Now, the official Saudi response to these taunts is muted, and its policy toward its rivals is conciliatory. Bernard Haykel, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2024

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 20 Apr. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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