verb (threatened; threatening) Date: 13th century transitive verb 1. to utter threats against 2. a. to give signs or warning of ; portend <
the clouds threatened rain
b. to hang over dangerously ; menace <
famine threatens the city
3. to announce as intended or possible <
the workers threatened a strike
4. to cause to feel insecure or anxious <
felt threatened by his brother's success
intransitive verb 1. to utter threats 2. to portend evil • threatener nounthreateningly adverb

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Threaten — Threat en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Threatened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Threatening}.] [OE. [thorn]retenen. See {Threat}, v. t.] 1. To utter threats against; to menace; to inspire with apprehension; to alarm, or attempt to alarm, as with the promise of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • threaten — threaten, menace both mean to announce or forecast (as by word or look) an impending or probable infliction (as an evil or an injury). Threaten basically implies an attempt to dissuade or influence by promising punishment or the infliction of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • threaten — [thret′ n] vt. [ME thretnen < OE threatnian] 1. a) to make threats against; express one s intention of hurting, punishing, etc. b) to express intention to inflict (punishment, reprisal, etc.) 2. a) to indicate the likely occurrence of… …   English World dictionary

  • Threaten — Threat en, v. i. To use threats, or menaces; also, to have a threatening appearance. [1913 Webster] Though the seas threaten, they are merciful. Shak. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • threaten — [v1] warn, pressure abuse, admonish, augur, blackmail, bluster, browbeat, bully, caution, comminate, cow, enforce, flex muscles*, forebode, forewarn, fulminate, growl, intimidate, look daggers*, make threat, menace, portend, presage, pressurize,… …   New thesaurus

  • threaten — I verb admonish, augur, be near at hand, blackmail, bode, browbeat, coerce, comminari, comminate, forebode, foreshadow, forewarn, frighten, fulminate, hector, intimidate, menace, portend, presage, terrorize, use threats II index bait (harass),… …   Law dictionary

  • threaten — O.E. þreatnian (see THREAT (Cf. threat)). Related: Threatened. Threatening in the sense of portending no good is recorded from 1520s …   Etymology dictionary

  • threaten — ► VERB 1) make or express a threat to (someone) or to do (something). 2) put at risk; endanger. 3) (of a situation or the weather) seem likely to produce (an unwelcome result). DERIVATIVES threatening adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • threaten */*/*/ — UK [ˈθret(ə)n] / US verb Word forms threaten : present tense I/you/we/they threaten he/she/it threatens present participle threatening past tense threatened past participle threatened 1) a) [transitive] to tell someone that you might or you will… …   English dictionary

  • threaten — threat|en [ θretn ] verb *** 1. ) transitive to tell someone that you might or you will cause them harm, especially in order to make them do something: He s been threatening me for months. threaten to do something: The terrorists are threatening… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • threaten — / Tretn/ verb 1 (T) to say that you will cause someone pain, unhappiness, or trouble if they do not do what you want: threaten to do sth: Every time they quarrel, Jan threatens to leave. | threaten sb with sth: We were threatened with the sack if …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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