threaten

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 to kill the hostages.
threaten someone with something: One man has been threatened with legal action.
threaten someone's life (=say that you will kill them): My life has been threatened on several occasions.
a ) threaten someone with a knife/gun etc. to say or show that you will hurt someone with a knife/gun etc.
b ) to say that you might or you will do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something:
NATO has threatened air strikes against the capital.
2. ) transitive to be likely to harm or destroy something:
the cancer that now threatens his life
Their actions threaten the stability and security of the region.
Many workers feel that their jobs are threatened.
threaten to do something: Mining operations threaten to destroy our environment.
a ) be threatened with something to be likely to be affected by something bad:
Nearly 1,000 of the world's bird species are threatened with extinction.
Even the local school was threatened with closure.
3. ) intransitive if something bad or unpleasant threatens, it is likely to happen or to affect you:
Rain was threatening, and it had turned cold.
The wildebeest return to the herd when danger threatens.
a ) threaten to do something to be likely to do something, especially something bad or unpleasant:
The dam threatened to break at any moment.
Tensions are threatening to erupt into full-scale confrontation.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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Synonyms:

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 — / 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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