[tawnt, tahnt]

verb (used with object)

to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock.
to provoke by taunts; twit.


an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge.
Obsolete. an object of insulting gibes or scornful reproaches.

Origin of taunt

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 for taunt

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for taunted

Contemporary Examples of taunted

Historical Examples of taunted

  • I could not bear to be taunted with all the remembrances of the past.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • "Got you that time, Earth dog," the invisible Mercutian taunted.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • When she did come round a bit, she taunted me that I had sold my clothes for drink.

    Adventures and Recollections

    Bill o'th' Hoylus End

  • "You taunted me with being a woman," she said through a fresh burst of tears.

  • He didn't forget that either, for he seems to have taunted her with her poverty.

British Dictionary definitions for taunted



verb (tr)

to provoke or deride with mockery, contempt, or criticism
to tease; tantalize


a jeering remark
archaic the object of mockery
Derived Formstaunter, nountaunting, adjectivetauntingly, adverb

Word Origin for taunt

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




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

Word Origin for taunt

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 taunted



1520s, from 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