[ men-is ]
See synonyms for: menacemenacedmenacing on

  1. something that threatens to cause evil, harm, injury, etc.; a threat: Air pollution is a menace to health.

  2. 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.

  1. an extremely annoying person.

verb (used with object),men·aced, men·ac·ing.
  1. to utter or direct a threat against; threaten.

  2. to serve as a probable threat to; imperil: overdevelopment that menaces our suburbs.

verb (used without object),men·aced, men·ac·ing.
  1. to express or serve as a threat.

Origin of menace

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English manace, manance, from Middle French manace, menace, from Late Latin minācia “threat,” equivalent to mināc- (stem of mināx ) “jutting out, threatening” + -ia; verb from noun; see -ia

Other words from menace

  • men·ac·er, noun
  • pre·men·ace, noun, verb (used with object), pre·men·aced, pre·men·ac·ing.
  • un·men·aced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use menace in a sentence

  • Which parent in Central Park, young child in tow, has not been menaced out of his wits by speeding bicyclists?

    The Great New York City Bicycle Wars | Tunku Varadarajan | December 14, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Americans were frequently insulted, called cowards, and openly menaced by the insurgents.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • England would have been severed from her Indian Empire, and menaced in the outposts of her naval power.

    The British Expedition to the Crimea | William Howard Russell
  • He would not defend the deceiving priest; but no unruly men-at-arms should touch a hair of Sebastian, if he also was menaced.

    God Wills It! | William Stearns Davis
  • The descendants of the Norman barons menaced, and sometimes proved too powerful for the Crown.

    Landholding In England | Joseph Fisher
  • It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries or make preparations for our defence.

British Dictionary definitions for menace


/ (ˈmɛnɪs) /

  1. to threaten with violence, danger, etc

  1. literary a threat or the act of threatening

  2. something menacing; a source of danger

  1. informal a nuisance

Origin of menace

C13: ultimately related to Latin minax threatening, from mināri to threaten

Derived forms of menace

  • menacer, noun
  • menacing, adjective
  • menacingly, adverb

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