Simple Definition of threaten
: to say that you will harm someone or do something unpleasant or unwanted especially in order to make someone do what you want
: to be something that is likely to cause harm to (someone or something) : to be a threat to (someone or something)
Full Definition of threaten
threateningplay \ˈthret-niŋ, ˈthre-tən-iŋ\
1 : to utter threats against
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>
1 : to utter threats
2 : to portend evil
threatenerplay \ˈthret-nər, ˈthre-tən-ər\ noun
threateninglyplay \ˈthret-niŋ-lē, ˈthre-tən-iŋ-\ adverb
Examples of threaten in a sentence
The mugger threatened him with a gun.
She threatened to quit if they didn't give her a raise, but no one believed her.
Civil war has been threatening the country for years.
a marriage threatened by financial problems
Overfishing threatens the survival of certain fish species.
The latest news threatens trouble for the economy.
First Known Use of threaten
Rhymes with threaten
THREATEN Defined for Kids
Definition of threaten for Students
1 : to show an intention to do harm or something unwanted <He threatened to quit.>
2 : to give warning of by an indication <The clouds threatened rain.>
Seen and Heard
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