Definition of taunt in English:



  • A remark made in order to anger, wound, or provoke someone.

    • ‘They returned to the hall in time for the next item on the agenda, amid jeers and taunts from the Treasury benches.’
    • ‘Each character also has their share of taunts, but the taunts get repetitive quickly and become annoying.’
    • ‘Throughout his high school years in the nearby town of Bay Minette, he weathered the taunts and teases of classmates for being gay.’
    • ‘I was humiliated, and dealing with the endless taunts from my classmates led me to overeat.’
    • ‘The eldest son in his family, Mohan had a bad time at school because his speech was the focus of many unkind taunts from his classmates.’
    • ‘She has lived with stones thrown through the front window of her Athy home, taunts and jeers, media hostility and the utter loneliness of no contact with her family and much loved daughters.’
    • ‘However, my racial background did not bring taunts from my classmates.’
    • ‘And Stine just kept right on provoking him with taunts and derision.’
    • ‘The character voices and taunts are annoying and lame.’
    • ‘Fans still trade abusive taunts and many thankfully can still take a bit of name-calling without crying to the authorities.’
    • ‘There is a provocative bunch of yobs among their exports, while not listed soccer thugs, still ignite tempers by taunts and tease and then claim innocence when the law steps in.’
    • ‘How many taunts, threats or downright abusive remarks have been reluctantly swallowed with a fatalistic shrug?’
    • ‘No. To me the idea that words or taunts can enrage somebody to kill and act out of anger, and our judicial system says that's okay, is barbaric.’
    • ‘I'm finding it difficult to get myself motivated for the game, but if only to avoid the taunts and jeers of the Magyar Armchair Brigade, I'm hoping for at least a draw.’
    • ‘Sandra stayed at home, away from the taunts and jibes of her white schoolfellows, and illicitly befriended the children of the family's black nanny.’
    • ‘The fact that there was perhaps some justification to the taunts of the veterans angered him.’
    • ‘And due to public pressure - which came in the form of letters, phone calls, taunts, jeers and even bomb threats - the city was forced to pull the plug on the project.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the Polish-born Sophie is made miserable by the racist taunts of classmates.’
    • ‘I phrased it as a sarcastic taunt, but I genuinely wanted to know the answer.’
    • ‘Her first day was filled with jeering and taunts but she remained patient with them.’
    jeer, gibe, sneer, insult, barb, catcall, brickbat, scoff, slap in the face
    teasing, taunting, provocation, goading, ridiculing, derision, mockery, sarcasm
    dig, put-down
    View synonyms


  • 1 Provoke or challenge (someone) with insulting remarks.

    ‘students began taunting her about her weight’
    • ‘He had insulted her, taunted her, hurt her, broken her down, threatened her…’
    • ‘She began to taunt me, of all people, for actually trying not to get her killed, which didn't rank her high on my good side at that moment.’
    • ‘It was under the pressure of people in the audience hurling drunken comments, taunting him, wanting him to fail, expecting him to fall apart.’
    • ‘But he was unable to speak or write Marathi and fellow students taunted him.’
    • ‘When my mum wasn't in the room he would always say snide remarks, taunting me.’
    • ‘The seven man, five woman jury rejected a call to convict him of manslaughter on the grounds of his claims that he was provoked by his wife taunting him about affairs.’
    • ‘Moments later the twins came by and true to their word, began to taunt Nicholas.’
    • ‘Imagine if your colleagues all began to taunt you, all of the time, every day.’
    • ‘His odd appearance and manner attracted the attention of local children, who would continually taunt him, provoking him to lose his temper and damage property.’
    • ‘A thousand ways to insult and taunt him came to my mind, but I kept quiet.’
    • ‘From afar they began to taunt the crowd in the square, chanting, ‘We own this country now,’ and ordering the people in the opposition crowd to return to their homes.’
    • ‘The last thing we want is to put ourselves in the position where he is taunted or provoked and reacts again.’
    • ‘They began taunting the friends and threatening them, before launching a physical attack.’
    • ‘She began to tease and taunt him by playing with his locks.’
    • ‘This might also be when parents or other adults constantly use sarcasm, threaten, criticise, yell at or taunt a child.’
    • ‘When he finally made it to the stage to alternately flip his hair and continue sneering, he began taunting the crowd and encouraging them to pump their fists - then the sound promptly gave out.’
    • ‘The British used it to taunt the Americans, the Americans then used the same version back ironically to taunt the British.’
    • ‘For instance, while waiting once on the on-deck circle in Boston, a fan began taunting him.’
    • ‘She'd sat by her car, waiting while snickering students passed by, taunting her for what she couldn't understand and could care less about.’
    • ‘The three surrounded her; began shoving and taunting her.’
    jeer at, gibe at, sneer at, scoff at, poke fun at, make fun of, get at, insult, tease, chaff, torment, provoke, goad, ridicule, deride, mock, heckle
    rib, needle, put down, hassle, rag, guy
    make sport of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Reproach (someone) with something in a contemptuous way.
      ‘she had taunted him with going to another man’
      • ‘He loathes food critics, loves a fight and taunts women with his arrogance and charm.’
      • ‘They knew this as well, so they taunted me with their sharp swords and barbed words.’
      • ‘True, not everybody loves her; there are some who taunt her with sarcastic parodies, bilious caricatures, and scathing articles.’
      • ‘One day at school a boy taunted him with the story that his mother had killed herself.’


Early 16th century: from French tant pour tant like for like, tit for tat from tant so much from Latin tantum, neuter of tantus. An early use of the verb was exchange banter.