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[dawnt, dahnt] /dɔnt, dɑnt/
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 forms
dauntingly, adverb
dauntingness, noun
undaunting, adjective
1. overawe, subdue, dismay, frighten. 2. discourage, dispirit.
2. encourage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for daunting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These disadvantages, instead of daunting the young pastor, seemed only to stimulate his ardor.

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

    Major Vigoureux A. T. Quiller-Couch
  • Slightly taller than Conan, and much heavier, Baal-pteor loomed before him, a daunting image of muscular development.

    Shadows in Zamboula Robert E. Howard
  • It was all very unsettling and, in this heat and loneliness, daunting.

    The Squirrel-Cage Dorothy Canfield
  • It was a daunting country and the gloom of its steamy forests was the shadow of death.

    Wyndham's Pal Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for daunting


causing fear or discouragement; intimidating
Derived Forms
dauntingly, adverb


verb (transitive; often passive)
to intimidate
to dishearten
Derived Forms
daunter, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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