[ dih-tur ]
See synonyms for: deterdeterreddeterring on

verb (used with object),de·terred, de·ter·ring.
  1. to discourage or restrain from acting or proceeding: The large dog deterred trespassers.

  2. to prevent; check; arrest: timber treated with creosote to deter rot.

  1. to repel: Strongly scented marigolds planted among the melons are supposed to deter beetles.

Origin of deter

First recorded in 1570–80; from Latin dēterrēre “to discourage, put off, frighten,” equivalent to dē-, prefix and preposition + terrēre “to frighten, scare”; see de-

Other words from deter

  • de·ter·ment, noun
  • de·ter·ra·ble, adjective
  • de·ter·ra·bil·i·ty [dih-tur-uh-bil-i-tee], /dɪˌtɜr əˈbɪl ɪ ti/, noun
  • de·ter·rer, noun
  • un·de·ter·ra·bil·i·ty, noun
  • un·de·ter·ra·ble, adjective
  • un·de·ter·ra·bly, adverb
  • un·de·ter·ring, adjective

Words Nearby deter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use deter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for deter


/ (dɪˈtɜː) /

verb-ters, -terring or -terred
  1. (tr) to discourage (from acting) or prevent (from occurring), usually by instilling fear, doubt, or anxiety

Origin of deter

C16: from Latin dēterrēre, from de- + terrēre to frighten

Derived forms of deter

  • determent, noun

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