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Taut vs taunt

Taut is an adjective which means pulled tight, tense and strained, controlled, either in a literal or a figurative sense. Related words are tautly, tautness. The verb form is tauten. Taut comes to us from the mid-thirteenth century tohte or Middle English toght, meaning stretched or pulled tight.

A taunt is a remark made in order to mock or provoke someone. Taunting is teasing, but with  a slightly more malevolent intent. Taunt may also be used as a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are taunts, taunted, taunting, taunter, tauntingly. Taunt is derived from the Middle French word tanter, which means to provoke or tempt.


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Examples

If any outing can help change the former’s opinion though, it’s The Shallows, an unrelentingly taut thriller, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, that knows what its audience wants and never bites off more than it can chew. (The International Business Times)

“There are all sorts of foundations for marriage,” says a character in ­“Siracusa,” Delia Ephron’s taut, sun-baked novel of sexual and marital gamesmanship on the Ionian coast of Sicily. (The New York Times)

Despite the crowded Broad Auditorium pit, Bradley Moore led a surging performance that scaled both the moments of lyrical beauty and taut drama. (The South Florida Classical Review)

A spectator who ran into the middle of a street to taunt a bull as it ran past him during a festival didn’t realise there was a giant 62-stone one just behind him – which flipped him 10ft in the air. (The Daily Mail)

Republican Party leaders have mostly avoided repeating or endorsing the taunt that convention delegates have been making about Hillary Clinton: “Lock her up.” (The Huffington Post)

David John Partridge, now 38, taunted three-year-old David Mamo as “weak” as he lay dying from massive internal injuries caused by repeated kicks or punches in February 2006. (The Advertiser)

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