from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To prevent or discourage from acting, as by means of fear or doubt: "Does negotiated disarmament deter war?” ( Edward Teller). See Synonyms at dissuade.
  • intransitive v. To prevent or discourage the occurrence of an action, as by means of fear or doubt: "It's this edge that gives nuclear weapons their power to deter” ( Thomas Powers).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To prevent something from happening.
  • v. To persuade someone not to do something; to discourage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To prevent by fear; hence, to hinder or prevent from action by fear of consequences, or difficulty, risk, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To discourage and stop by fear; hence, to stop or prevent from acting or proceeding by any countervailing motive: as, we are often deterred from our duty by trivial difficulties; the state of the road or a cloudy sky may deter a man from undertaking a journey.
  • Synonyms To hinder, restrain, keep back.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. turn away from by persuasion
  • v. try to prevent; show opposition to


Latin dēterrēre : dē-, de- + terrēre, to frighten.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dēterreō ("deter, discourage"), from de ("from") + terreō ("I frighten"). (Wiktionary)



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  • God usually doesn’t show us where He is taking us. He just asks us to trust Him. It’s like driving a car at night. Our headlights never shine all the way to our destination; they illuminate only about 50 meters ahead. But that doesn’t deter us from moving forward.

    January 17, 2011