Word of the Day – Deter

Word of the Day : July 6, 2021


verb dih-TER


1 : to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting

2 : inhibit

Did you know?

The word deter is rooted in fear. It was borrowed into English around the mid-16th century from the Latin verb deterrēre, which in turn was formed by combining de-, meaning “from” or “away,” with terrēre, meaning “to frighten.” Terrēre is also the source of terrorterrible, and even terrific, which originally meant “very bad” or “frightful.” These days, you may be deterred by something that frightens you or by something that simply causes you to think about the difficult or unpleasant consequences of continuing. The word can also mean “to inhibit,” as in “painting to deter rust.”


“‘Criminals are looking for easy targets,’ Const. Chris Lesage said in a statement. ‘Removing valuables from plain sight and making sure to lock your vehicle can be enough to deter a would-be thief.'” — Chris Simon, The Barrie (Ontario) Advance Online, 24 May 2021

“Fake owls are usually the most effective way to deter large birds of prey like hawks and, of course, owls. For those who have smaller pets or backyard chickens, a fake owl may be the best bird deterrent.” — Rebecca Wolken, BobVila.com