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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
    • 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”

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.
    a ship with taunt masts
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)


  • taunt at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • taunt in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.