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[dih-tur] /dɪˈtɜr/
verb (used with object), deterred, deterring.
to discourage or restrain from acting or proceeding:
The large dog deterred trespassers.
to prevent; check; arrest:
timber treated with creosote to deter rot.
Origin of deter
1570-80; < Latin dēterrēre to prevent, hinder, equivalent to dē- de- + terrēre to frighten
Related forms
determent, noun
deterrable, adjective
deterrability, noun
deterrer, noun
undeterrability, noun
undeterrable, adjective
undeterrably, adverb
undeterred, adjective
undeterring, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deterring
  • Criminologists differ on the efficacy of such measures in deterring youths who are considered threats to public order.
  • The same compound can be effective in deterring insects from eating garden produce or feasting on flowers and shrubs.
  • The chemical combo was nearly as effective in deterring mosquitoes as pools containing adult backswimmers.
  • Collision-deterring navigation systems are key to transforming highways into skyways.
  • The idea is that making nuclear weapons more effective and credible for deterring war is immoral is a lie.
  • Terror-related cancellations not deterring travelers yet.
  • deterring illegal hits is a continuation of that effort.
  • Hundreds of protesters participated in the rally aimed at deterring a possible army coup.
  • Bars on the windows are less attractive but far more effective in deterring crime, with the added benefit of not providing cover.
  • We have other statutes aimed at deterring riotous behavior, if that is the concern.
British Dictionary definitions for deterring


verb -ters, -terring, -terred
(transitive) to discourage (from acting) or prevent (from occurring), usually by instilling fear, doubt, or anxiety
Derived Forms
determent, 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
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Word Origin and History for deterring



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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