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The prevention from action by fear of the consequences. Deterrence is a state of mind brought about by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction.
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Deterrence is a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary from taking an action not yet started, or to prevent them from doing something that another state desires. A credible nuclear deterrent, Bernard Brodie wrote in 1959, must be always at the ready, yet never used.

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