- to utter a threat against; menace: He threatened the boy with a beating.
- to be a menace or source of danger to: Sickness threatened her peace of mind.
- to offer (a punishment, injury, etc.) by way of a threat: They threatened swift retaliation.
- to give an ominous indication of: The clouds threaten rain.
- to utter or use threats.
- to indicate impending evil or mischief.
Origin of threaten
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for threatened
We see the Southern segregationists who threatened his life and that of his family on an almost daily basis.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’
January 2, 2015
More recently, Boko Haram shocked the world by kidnapping 276 female students and threatened to traffic them.ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Growing Role of Human Trafficking in 21st Century Terrorism
Louise I. Shelley
December 26, 2014
To give the truth its rights, you have to see that groups like TMOC were threatened by peaceful protest.The Monsters Who Screamed for Dead Cops
December 23, 2014
The collective had threatened attacks on theaters if the movie was not pulled.Hackers: Sony ‘Very Wise’ to Pull Film
The Daily Beast
December 19, 2014
Women like (gaming blogger Anita Sarkeesian) were threatened, doxxed, and driven from their homes.10 Things That Made Us Want to Turn Off the Internet Forever in 2014
The Daily Beast
December 15, 2014
It was sultry, and there was something in the atmosphere that at once threatened and soothed.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Mr. Lovelace's threatened vengeance is in return for threatened vengeance.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
In other words Mr. Gladstone was threatened with total blindness.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
You hear, brother, with what strange diseases he has threatened me.The Imaginary Invalid
It was refused, whereupon Morgan threatened that no quarter should be given.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
- (tr) to be a threat to
- to be a menacing indication of (something); portenddark clouds threatened rain
- (when tr, may take a clause as object) to express a threat to (a person or people)
Word Origin and History for threatened
Old English þreatnian (see threat). Related: Threatened. Threatening in the sense of "portending no good" is recorded from 1520s.