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deterrent (noun) something that discourages or prevents people from doing something; a hindrance.
Punishments are meant to be deterrents, that is, a means of discouraging or preventing the criminal from committing the crime again, and preventing others from committing it for fear of punishment. A security system in a bank is a deterrent in that it prevents possible attempts at burglary. The fear of having to pay heavy fines is expected to discourage people from committing offences, so fines are a deterrent. The high cost of education is a deterrent because it discourages those who cannot afford the cost from pursuing higher studies.
- The UN sanctions are meant to be a deterrent to discourage nations from illegal manufacture, use, and stocking of nuclear weapons.
- Racism and conservatism are the main deterrents to the economic progress of a nation.