[dawnt, dahnt]

verb (used with object)

to overcome with fear; intimidate: to daunt one's adversaries.
to lessen the courage of; dishearten: Don't be daunted by the amount of work still to be done.

Origin of daunt

1250–1300; Middle English da(u)nten < Anglo-French da(u)nter, Old French danter, alteration of donter (probably by influence of dangier power, authority; see danger) < Latin domitāre to tame, derivative of domitus, past participle of domāre to tame
Related formsdaunt·ing·ly, adverbdaunt·ing·ness, nounun·daunt·ing, adjective

Synonyms for daunt

Antonyms for daunt

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for daunting

Contemporary Examples of daunting

Historical Examples of daunting

  • But if he counted on daunting Miss Gabriel, he was mistaken.

    Major Vigoureux

    A. T. Quiller-Couch

  • There was an assurance about Silas Grangerson daunting in its simplicity and directness.

    The Ghost Girl

    H. De Vere Stacpoole

  • It was all very unsettling and, in this heat and loneliness, daunting.

    The Squirrel-Cage

    Dorothy Canfield

  • She even thought that she could hear his steps upon the daunting stillness.

    The Backwoodsmen

    Charles G. D. Roberts

  • But to Horner the solemn sight was not daunting in the least.

    Kings in Exile

    Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for daunting



causing fear or discouragement; intimidating
Derived Formsdauntingly, adverb


verb (tr; often passive)

to intimidate
to dishearten
Derived Formsdaunter, noun

Word Origin for daunt

C13: from Old French danter, changed from donter to conquer, from Latin domitāre to tame
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 daunting



c.1300, "to vanquish," from Old French danter, variant of donter (12c., Modern French dompter) "be afraid of, fear, doubt; control, restrain," from Latin domitare, frequentative of domare "to tame" (see tame (v.)). Sense of "to intimidate" is from late 15c. Related: Daunted; daunting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper