[dih-tur-uhnt, -tuhr-, -ter-]


serving or tending to deter.


something that deters: a deterrent to crime.
military strength or an ability to defend a country or retaliate strongly enough to deter an enemy from attacking.

Nearby words

  1. determiner,
  2. determinism,
  3. determinist,
  4. deterministic,
  5. deterrence,
  6. detersive,
  7. detest,
  8. detestable,
  9. detestation,
  10. dethatch

Origin of deterrent

1820–30; < Latin dēterrent- (stem of dēterrēns), present participle of dēterrēre. See deter, -ent

Related formsde·ter·rent·ly, adverbnon·de·ter·rent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deterrent

British Dictionary definitions for deterrent



something that deters
a weapon or combination of weapons, esp nuclear, held by one state, etc, to deter attack by another


tending or used to deter; restraining
Derived Formsdeterrence, noun

Word Origin for deterrent

C19: from Latin dēterrēns hindering; see deter

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 deterrent


1829, noun and adjective, in Bentham, from Latin deterrentem, present participle of deterrere (see deter). In reference to nuclear weapons, from 1954.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper