- 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
2. protect, defend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for threatener
Fear, too, was out of the question; there must be no such relationship as that between the threatened and the threatener.What The Left Hand Was Doing
Gordon Randall Garrett
Leiba went to the town hall, then to the sub-prefecture to denounce the threatener, begging that he might be watched.Roumanian Stories
The large young man halted and presented a grinning face to his threatener.Port O' Gold
Louis John Stellman
Two French sub-officers now suddenly appeared upon the scene, one of them knocked the threatener aside.Moscow
- (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)
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
Word Origin and History for threatener
Old English þreatnian (see threat). Related: Threatened. Threatening in the sense of "portending no good" is recorded from 1520s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper