threatening

[thret-n-ing]

adjective

tending or intended to menace: threatening gestures.
causing alarm, as by being imminent; ominous; sinister: threatening clouds.

Origin of threatening

First recorded in 1520–30; threaten + -ing2
Related formsthreat·en·ing·ly, adverbnon·threat·en·ing, adjectivenon·threat·en·ing·ly, adverbun·threat·en·ing, adjectiveun·threat·en·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for threatening

2. See imminent, ominous.

threaten

[thret-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.

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

Synonyms for threaten

Antonyms for threaten

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


Examples from the Web for threatening

Contemporary Examples of threatening

Historical Examples of threatening

  • The official's voice was charged with threatening as he went on.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But it settled down again, black and threatening, before spring came.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • The political controversy, however fierce and threatening, is only for power.

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • And so the report came to me that the workers were threatening strike.

  • It was some moments before, under the girl's threatening eyes, she could speak at all.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward


British Dictionary definitions for threatening

threaten

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 threatening

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