threaten

[ thret-n ]
/ ˈθrɛt n /

verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

to utter or use threats.
to indicate impending evil or mischief.

Nearby words

  1. threadworm,
  2. thready,
  3. thready pulse,
  4. threap,
  5. threat,
  6. threatened,
  7. threatened species,
  8. threatening,
  9. three,
  10. three age system

Origin of threaten

before 1000; Middle English thretnen, Old English thrēatnian, derivative of thrēat pressure, oppression. See threat, -en1

Related formsthreat·en·er, nounout·threat·en, verb (used with object)pre·threat·en, verb (used with object)re·threat·en, verb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for threaten


British Dictionary definitions for threaten

threaten

/ (ˈθrɛtən) /

verb

(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)
Derived Formsthreatener, nounthreatening, adjectivethreateningly, 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

Word Origin and History for threaten

threaten

v.

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