idle threat


: a threat that a person does not really mean to follow through with
She said she would leave him, but he knew it was an idle threat.

Examples of idle threat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Warnings of impending storms are not idle threats, according to AccuWeather. Ella Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6 Mar. 2024 In the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of Congress, that may not feel like an idle threat. Marshall Ingwerson, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Feb. 2024 The rhetoric may seem overwrought, but these are not necessarily idle threats to get more money. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2023 This isn’t an idle threat, mind you. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'idle threat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near idle threat

Cite this Entry

“Idle threat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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