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[men-is] /ˈmɛn ɪs/
something that threatens to cause evil, harm, injury, etc.; a threat:
Air pollution is a menace to health.
a person whose actions, attitudes, or ideas are considered dangerous or harmful:
When he gets behind the wheel of a car, he's a real menace.
an extremely annoying person.
verb (used with object), menaced, menacing.
to utter or direct a threat against; threaten.
to serve as a probable threat to; imperil.
verb (used without object), menaced, menacing.
to express or serve as a threat.
Origin of menace
1250-1300; Middle English < Middle French < Latin minācia, equivalent to mināc- (stem of mināx) jutting out, threatening + -ia -ia
Related forms
menacer, noun
menacingly, adverb
nonmenacing, adjective
premenace, noun, verb (used with object), premenaced, premenacing.
unmenaced, adjective
unmenacing, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for menacingly
Historical Examples
  • Languidly and menacingly did her great black eyes look forth from beneath the black velvet.

  • Alfred cocked his revolver and menacingly pointed it at him.

  • It was menacingly near the empty mark—which meant he would have to spend time foraging before he could continue his journey.

    World of the Drone Robert Abernathy
  • Tom Long rose, and came at him menacingly, and Bob laughed in his face.

    Middy and Ensign G. Manville Fenn
  • "Pilot, you will be responsible for this if my prisoners escape," said Mr. Grab menacingly.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • The man looked hard at him for a few moments, but not menacingly.

    In Honour's Cause George Manville Fenn
  • "I will have half of it," declared Boarface, and he and Ab faced each other menacingly.

    The Story of Ab Stanley Waterloo
  • “Get thee gone,” said the guard coming toward her menacingly.

    In Doublet and Hose Lucy Foster Madison
  • The sea went down somewhat, and no longer broke so menacingly, while it changed its colour from dirty green to steel-grey.

    Dick Leslie's Luck Harry Collingwood
  • "For the last time, I order you to be gone," the valet went on, menacingly.

    Stronghand Gustave Aimard
British Dictionary definitions for menacingly


to threaten with violence, danger, etc
(literary) a threat or the act of threatening
something menacing; a source of danger
(informal) a nuisance
Derived Forms
menacer, noun
menacing, adjective
menacingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: ultimately related to Latin minax threatening, from mināri to threaten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for menacingly



c.1300, "declaration of hostile intent," also "act of threatening," from Old French menace "menace, threat" (9c.), from Vulgar Latin minacia "threat, menace" (also source of Spanish amenaza, Italian minaccia), singular of Latin minaciæ "threatening things," from minax (genitive minacis) "threatening," from minari "threaten, jut, project," from minæ "threats, projecting points," from PIE root *men- (2) "to project." Applied to persons from 1936.


c.1300, from Old French menacer "threaten, urge" (11c.), Anglo-French manasser, from Vulgar Latin *minaciare "to threaten," from minacia (see menace (n.)). Related: Menaced; menacing.



c.1300, from Old French menacer "threaten, urge" (11c.), Anglo-French manasser, from Vulgar Latin *minaciare "to threaten," from minacia (see menace (n.)). Related: Menaced; menacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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