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[tawnt, tahnt] /tɔnt, tɑnt/
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 taunt1
1505-15; origin uncertain
Related forms
taunter, noun
tauntingly, adverb
untaunted, adjective
untaunting, adjective
untauntingly, adverb
Can be confused
taught, taunt, taut.
1. censure, upbraid, flout, insult. 2, 3. jeer. See ridicule. 3. scoff, derision, insult, censure, ridicule. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tauntingly
Historical Examples
  • And ahead, tauntingly near now, loomed a thickly-wooded slope that meant the beginning of big timber—and safety.

  • "That's your sweet old employer," his wife cried, tauntingly.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • In this he found them wanting, for they tauntingly told him to go and ask relief at Monmouth, where he had lived at service.

  • "How tauntingly he says it now," said Kate, while her eyes sparkled brilliantly.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
  • He took down the receiver and Opal's voice greeted him, mockingly, tauntingly from his own world.

    The City of Fire Grace Livingston Hill
  • "You know how to do it very well, Gerald," she tauntingly returned.

    The Masked Bridal Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
  • "Be there and you will run after your lost sovereign," Millar went on tauntingly.

    The Devil Joseph O'Brien
  • "If you talk like that, I shall know you're in love with him," said Harry tauntingly and angrily.

    The Limit Ada Leverson
  • They tauntingly exhibited the clothes they had stripped from the slain, and shouted messages of defiance and insult.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • He filled in the date, and again looked around at her, tauntingly.

    The Scarlet Feather Houghton Townley
British Dictionary definitions for tauntingly


verb (transitive)
to provoke or deride with mockery, contempt, or criticism
to tease; tantalize
a jeering remark
(archaic) the object of mockery
Derived Forms
taunter, noun
taunting, adjective
tauntingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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
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Word Origin and History for tauntingly



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.


1520s, from taunt (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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