• synonyms


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.
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Origin of deter

1570–80; < Latin dēterrēre to prevent, hinder, equivalent to dē- de- + terrēre to frighten
Related formsde·ter·ment, nounde·ter·ra·ble, adjectivede·ter·ra·bil·i·ty, nounde·ter·rer, nounun·de·ter·ra·bil·i·ty, nounun·de·ter·ra·ble, adjectiveun·de·ter·ra·bly, adverbun·de·terred, adjectiveun·de·ter·ring, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

hinder, prevent, discourage, avert, prohibit, intimidate, frighten, preclude, stop, daunt, impede, forestall, dissuade, restrain, obstruct, scare, block, dampen, debar, cool

Examples from the Web for deters

Historical Examples

  • Nor does he distinguish between the suffering which improves and the suffering which only punishes and deters.



  • The knowledge that virtue is its own reward is what deters many from well doing.


    Lisle de Vaux Matthewman

  • Nothing so deters us from wanting to worship as the notion that worship is unliving.

  • Be vague, colourless, and languid, this deters readers from approaching the book.

  • A hand laid upon her shoulder startles and deters her from her purpose.

British Dictionary definitions for deters


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

Word Origin

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



1570s, from Latin deterrere "to frighten from, discourage from," from de- "away" (see de-) + terrere "frighten" (see terrible). Deterrent is from 1829.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper