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See also: Taunt



Etymology 1[edit]

Middle French tanter (to tempt, try, provoke), variant of Old French tempter (to try). Doublet of tempt.


taunt (third-person singular simple present taunts, present participle taunting, simple past and past participle taunted)

  1. to make fun of (someone); to goad (a person) into responding, often in an aggressive manner.


taunt (plural taunts)

  1. A scornful or mocking remark; a jeer or mockery
    • 1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene vi], page 100, column 1:
      VVith ſcoffs and ſcornes, and contumelious taunts, / In open Market-place produc't they me, / To be a publique ſpectacle to all: / Here, ſayd they, is the Terror of the French, / The Scar-Crovv that affrights our Children ſo.
    • 2020 November 13, Duncan Campbell, “Peter Sutcliffe obituary”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The attacks and the failure to catch the killer created an atmosphere of fear and dismay throughout Yorkshire, and provoked grim taunts to the police at Leeds United football matches such as “Ripper 10, Police nil”

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Old French tant (so great), French tant (so much), Latin tantus (of such size, so great, so much). See ataunt.


taunt (comparative more taunt, superlative most taunt)

  1. (obsolete, nautical) Very high or tall.
    • 1764, Duhamel du Monceau, The Elememts of Naval Architecture:
      the great ships, for want of ſufficient masts, will lose the advantages the taunt masts would procure