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taunt1

[tawnt, tahnt]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock.
  2. to provoke by taunts; twit.
noun
  1. an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge.
  2. Obsolete. an object of insulting gibes or scornful reproaches.

Origin of taunt1

First recorded in 1505–15; origin uncertain
Related formstaunt·er, nountaunt·ing·ly, adverbun·taunt·ed, adjectiveun·taunt·ing, adjectiveun·taunt·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedtaught taunt taut

Synonyms

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1. censure, upbraid, flout, insult. 2, 3. jeer. See ridicule. 3. scoff, derision, insult, censure, ridicule.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for taunting

taunt1

verb (tr)
  1. to provoke or deride with mockery, contempt, or criticism
  2. to tease; tantalize
noun
  1. a jeering remark
  2. archaic the object of mockery
Derived Formstaunter, nountaunting, adjectivetauntingly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from French phrase tant pour tant like for like, rejoinder

taunt2

adjective
  1. nautical (of the mast or masts of a sailing vessel) unusually tall

Word Origin

C15: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for taunting

taunt

n.

1520s, from taunt (v.).

taunt

v.

1510s, possibly from Middle French tanter, tenter "to tempt, try, provoke," variant of tempter "to try" (see tempt). Or from Middle French tant pour tant "so much for so much, tit for tat," on notion of "sarcastic rejoinder." Related: Taunted; taunting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper