non·​threat·​en·​ing | \ ˌnän-ˈthret-niŋ How to pronounce nonthreatening (audio) , -ˈthre-tᵊn-iŋ \

Definition of nonthreatening

1 : not constituting a threat a nonthreatening illness
2 : not likely to cause anxiety a nonthreatening environment also : innocuous sense 2

Examples of nonthreatening in a Sentence

It's best to approach the dog in a calm, nonthreatening way.
Recent Examples on the Web Much like Uncle Tom, Xavier, the perfect biracial teenager, is presented as a nonthreatening fantasy for the book’s white audience. Kiley Reid, New York Times, "When You Hate Your Neighbor, and Then Your Kids Start Dating," 10 Mar. 2020 There were only nine cases in the city; even to a doctor, that seemed nonthreatening. Jonathan Kolatch, WSJ, "A Coronavirus Seder," 7 Apr. 2020 The whole production is tidy, predictable, nonthreatening, and occasionally entertaining. Michael J. Socolow, Quartz, "Why US presidential debates are designed to be boring," 19 Dec. 2019 The whole production is tidy, predictable, nonthreatening and occasionally entertaining. Michael J. Socolow, The Conversation, "Think presidential debates are dull? Thank 1950s TV game shows," 17 Dec. 2019 His quirky behavior renders him nonthreatening during investigations. Katie Walsh,, "‘Motherless Brooklyn’ review: Solid, enjoyable mystery flick written and directed by Edward Norton," 31 Oct. 2019 Teachers are trained how to stand in a nonthreatening way. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, "Journalism That Holds Power to Account," 19 Nov. 2019 Millions of years ago, when our ancestors might have encountered someone who looked friendly eating in front of them, the cues were clear: Here is a nonthreatening person in possession of food that is demonstrably edible. Emily Heil, Washington Post, "Brad Pitt is ‘the Laurence Olivier of eating’ on screen. Here’s why we like to watch.," 27 Sep. 2019 Almond was familiar and nonthreatening and blended beautifully with greens. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Oatly and the quest for the perfect alt-milk," 14 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonthreatening.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nonthreatening

1963, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nonthreatening

Time Traveler for nonthreatening

Time Traveler

The first known use of nonthreatening was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nonthreatening

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nonthreatening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nonthreatening


How to pronounce nonthreatening (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nonthreatening

: not likely to cause someone to be afraid or worried : not threatening

More from Merriam-Webster on nonthreatening

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nonthreatening

Comments on nonthreatening

What made you want to look up nonthreatening? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!