• WordNet 3.6
    • v threaten to utter intentions of injury or punishment against:"He threatened me when I tried to call the police"
    • v threaten to be a menacing indication of something:"The clouds threaten rain" "Danger threatens"
    • v threaten pose a threat to; present a danger to "The pollution is endangering the crops"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Titus threatening Pomponius Titus threatening Pomponius

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Early sewing machines were destroyed by mobs or workers who felt their jobs were threatened by automation
    • Threaten To exhibit the appearance of (something evil or unpleasant) as approaching; to indicate as impending; to announce the conditional infliction of; as, to threaten war; to threaten death. "The skies look grimly
      And threaten present blusters."
      "By turns put on the suppliant and the lord: Threatened this moment, and the next implored.""Of the sharp ax
      Regardless, that o'er his devoted head
      Hangs menacing ."
    • v. i Threaten To use threats, or menaces; also, to have a threatening appearance. "Though the seas threaten , they are merciful."
    • Threaten To utter threats against; to menace; to inspire with apprehension; to alarm, or attempt to alarm, as with the promise of something evil or disagreeable; to warn. "Let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: When the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, received an alarming number of threatening letters, soon after her husband became President at the height of the Depression, the Secret Service insisted that she carry a pistol in her purse
    • threaten To use threats or menaces; have a menacing aspect.
    • threaten To give indication of menace, or of impending danger or mischief; become overcast, as the sky.
    • threaten To declare an intention of doing mischief to or of bringing evil on: use threats toward; menace; terrify, or attempt to terrify, by menaces: with with before the evil threatened.
    • threaten To charge or enjoin solemnly or with menace.
    • threaten To be a menace or source of danger to.
    • threaten To give ominous indication of; presage; portend: as, the clouds threaten rain or a storm.
    • threaten To announce or hold out as a penalty or punishment: often followed by an infinitive clause.
    • threaten Synonyms Menace, Threaten (see menace), forebode, foreshadow.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: City Ordinance number 352 in Pacific Grove, CA makes it a misdemeanor to kill or threaten a butterfly.
    • v.t Threaten to declare the intention of inflicting punishment or other evil upon another: to terrify by menaces: to present the appearance of coming evil or of something unpleasant
    • ***


  • Marsha Sinetar
    Marsha Sinetar
    “Change can either challenge or threaten us. Your beliefs pave your way to success or block you.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “The coward threatens when he is safe.”
  • Ben Jonson
    “He threatens many that hath injured one.”
  • Ruckett
    “Who is mightier than death? Those who can smile when death threatens.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Desire for security keeps littleness little and threatens the great with smallness.”
  • Jane Welsh Carlyle
    Jane Welsh Carlyle
    “When one has been threatened with a great injustice, one accepts a smaller as a favor.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. þretenen,. See Threat (v. t.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. þreátþreótan, to afflict; cog. with Ger. verdriessen, Goth. thriutan, to vex.


In literature:

By this time Inza was so frightened that she was threatened with hysterics.
"Frank Merriwell's Son" by Burt L. Standish
Before their threatening axes the unarmed people fell back, and the weeping maiden was left standing alone.
"Historic Tales, Volume 11 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
By March 14 the actual conditions of affairs in the threatened section of Wyoming was fairly well known.
"The Fire People" by Ray Cummings
The boatswain stood in the bow and threatened him with a sword.
"Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends" by Gertrude Landa
The Burmese conquered the independent principalities of Assam and Munipore, and threatened Cachar.
"A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year" by Edwin Emerson
Affairs looked very threatening.
"Louis XIV., Makers of History Series" by John S. C. Abbott
Some faculty of divination warned him of danger to it, and of the quarter from whence this danger threatened.
"The Wagnerian Romances" by Gertrude Hall
Everywhere the crowd was cheering for Conde, and threatening to hang Mazarin, but my companion proceeded calmly on his journey.
"My Sword's My Fortune" by Herbert Hayens
Goguelat threatened to cut his way out, and was unhorsed by a pistol shot.
"Lectures on the French Revolution" by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
And he towered threateningly over the undisturbed wood-cutter.
"The Watchers of the Plains" by Ridgewell Cullum

In poetry:

Then threatened loud the Austrian,
And said he'd march his men
And loudly answered Italy:
We'll hurl them back again!'
"The March Of Freedom" by Ernest Jones
Or that the promise he hath made,
Also the threatenings great,
Should in a moment end and fade?
O! no, this is a cheat.
"An Introduction To The Ensuing Discourse." by John Bunyan
With flames they threaten to destroy
Thy children in their nest;
"Come, let us burn at once," they cry,
"The temple and the priest."
"Psalm LXXIV: Will God For Ever Cast Us Off?" by Isaac Watts
Now comes near thee,
O my heart, thy threatened trial!
Lady, pardon the denial,
But I would nor see nor hear thee.
"The Purgatory Of St. Patrick - Act II" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
Thy song may then an echo wake,
Deep in this soul, long crushed and sad,
The direful impressions shake
Which threaten now to drive it mad.
"Yes! Strike Again That Sounding String" by James Monroe Whitfield
That's enough, we are understood
By one another; but be calm, be cheerful.
If else thy heart be yet thy own--if else
No threatened loss thy trembling bosom wring
Thy father shall remain to thee.
"Nathan The Wise - Act V" by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

In news:

A bookstore said the page was threatening its management.
How Africa's Most Threatening Terrorist Group Lost Control of Somalia.
When Thompson, who is white, learned that Ali and Abdullahi were Somali, police say he threatened to kill them, too.
The settlements, announced seven days after the old contracts expired, averted a strike threatened by 65,000 Verizon workers from Maine to Virginia.
) bassist Peter Hook threatened to sue the remaining members if they continue under the New Order name, reports
New York threatens to ballast Indiana exports.
Ballplayer 's wife: He threatened me, kids.
Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger Effie Marie Bradley at her home in Dover, which has been threatened with foreclosure.
Conditions at Montrose Co. A Grand Junction man threatened his family Wednesday night and then barricaded himself in a house for nearly three hours.
Police have arrested a man who they say threatened the Omaha woman just days before the shooting that led to the death of a Benson High student.
Winter beach erosion threatens more of the state's coastline than storms that occur during the spring and summer.
Proposed regulations threaten food truck availability around District.
Sofia Garcia filed for two orders of protection saying her estranged husband was abusing and threatening to kill her.
Plattsburgh — A Champlain man threatened to kill children.
China's state-controlled media intensified criticism of Google on Monday, accusing the US company of playing politics by threatening to shut down its China-based search engine.

In science:

For such perdurantists, the RDA still threatens.
On the Persistence of Homogeneous Matter
In any case, its overall stability would not be threatened by the impact of the jet.
Microquasar Jet Irradiation of the Proto-Solar Nebula?
Such negative-energy degrees of freedom can threaten stability, especially in the presence of interactions.
Empirical Equivalence, Artificial Gauge Freedom and a Generalized Kretschmann Objection
Particularly, populations in heterogeneous habitats, threatened by various parasites or under strong competition, have been shown to have greater genetic variation.
A Testing Framework for P Systems
The only things which could threaten the analyticity of the kernel are the poles coming from the left-hand side terms of (4.16) and (4.17).
Free energy fluctuations for directed polymers in random media in 1+1 dimension