- Threaten is defined as to pose a danger to someone or something, or to make someone believe you pose a danger by making statements indicating an intent to harm them.
- Human encroachment on animal's land is an example of something that threatens the animal population.
- When you tell someone you are going to kill him, this is an example of a time when you threaten him.
- to make threats against; express one's intention of hurting, punishing, etc.
- to express intention to inflict (punishment, reprisal, etc.)
- to indicate the likely occurrence of (something dangerous, unpleasant, etc.): clouds threatening snow
- to be a source of such danger, harm, etc. to: an epidemic that threatens the city
Origin of threatenMiddle English thretnen ; from Old English threatnian
- to make threats
- to be an indication or source of potential danger, harm, etc.
verbthreat·ened, threat·en·ing, threat·ens
- To express a threat against or give indications of taking hostile action against: threatened his neighbor with a knife.
- To be a source of danger to; endanger: Landslides threatened the mountain village.
- To give signs or warning of; portend: clouds threatening rain.
- To announce the possibility of (something) in a threat or prediction: workers threatening a walkout; a customer threatening to sue for fraud.
- To cause (someone) to feel that his or her power, social standing, or self-esteem is in danger of being diminished: felt threatened by his colleague's promotion.
- To express or use threats.
- To indicate or be a source of danger or harm: “When World War II threatened, Broadway turned to patriotic extravaganzas” (Deanne Stillman).
(third-person singular simple present threatens, present participle threatening, simple past and past participle threatened)
- This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive.