men·​ac·​ing ˈme-nə-siŋ How to pronounce menacing (audio)
: presenting, suggesting, or constituting a menace or threat : threatening
a menacing look
menacing words
[Harold E. Edgerton] … was also one of the first to take photographs of the menacing mushroom cloud emanating from a nuclear blast.Benjamin Genocchio
Ransomware is a menacing scam that involves locking businesses out of their computers and demanding payment of a ransom in exchange for the return of company systems and data.Roger Williams
The image is chilling: a series of menacing bear traps laid out like footsteps.Emily DeNitto
menacingly adverb
A man stepped menacingly from the corner brandishing a long pole … Elizabeth George Speare
"If you shout his name I will curse you into oblivion," muttered Tonks menacingly J. K. Rowling

Examples of menacing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The menacing maestro of pop, the Lucifer of the loop pedal, the acoustic animal himself made a surprise appearance at 50 Cent’s show in London Tuesday night, Nov. 21. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 22 Nov. 2023 Hosted by Wale, Jey, and Jimmy savored the opportunity of skewering the New Day with their menacing bars. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, 21 Nov. 2023 The house is stuffed with ridiculous relics and over-the-top finery; the grounds offer welcoming expanses of nature and a menacing labyrinth of high bushes. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 18 Nov. 2023 Stephen Clark/Ars Technica The menacing structure towering over the coastal mud flats seemed to come alive, letting out creaks and groans as the two holding arms slowly descended rails running up and down the launch pad's support tower. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 16 Nov. 2023 Advertisement Although Beverly is his boss, Michael assumes a menacing power. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Here, the sky tussles with menacing clouds, and Diego Gaeta’s keys emit a Stevie-esque sensibility. Jem Aswad, Variety, 14 Nov. 2023 The Chinese government used its trade winnings to expand its military capabilities, while menacing neighbors like the Philippines. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2023 The effect is theatrically menacing yet fundamentally amiable, like a version of D.O.A. directed by Chris Van Allsburg. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, 2 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English manacyng, from present participle of manacen "to menace entry 2"

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of menacing was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near menacing

Cite this Entry

“Menacing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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