Meaning of “deterrent” in the English Dictionary

"deterrent" in British English

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deterrentnoun [ C ]

uk /dɪˈter.ənt/ us /dɪˈter.ənt/

C2 something that deters people from doing something:

a nuclear deterrent
Tougher prison sentences may act/serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.

More examples

  • Some people say that capital punishment acts as a deterrent.
  • Drink-driving is one case where severe punishment seems to work as a deterrent.
  • I should think the smell of her breath must act as a deterrent to any man.
  • They executed him, as a deterrent to any other young soldiers thinking of trying to desert from the army.
  • As a deterrent, they have imposed a heavy fine for late payment.
adjective uk us

a deterrent effect

(Definition of “deterrent” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)