threat

1 of 2

noun

1
: an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage
2
: one that threatens
3
: an indication of something impending
the sky held a threat of rain

threat

2 of 2

verb

threated; threating; threats
archaic

Examples of threat in a Sentence

Noun He was willing to use violence and threats to get what he wanted. She ignored their threats and continued to do what she felt was right. a country under threat of civil war
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
These cultural factors play out in a context of constant threat. Shashank Joshi, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Shanahan and his coaching staff will be looking hard at the reasons for this as well as other strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats from the past year. Don Yaeger, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 The Boston area is unlike other places with too much office space and too few tenants: the causes are different, and the problem doesn’t appear to pose as much of a threat to the region’s broader fortunes. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Two sources who work in the Capitol told the Statesman that one influential behind-the-scenes figure made at least some of those threats to lawmakers: Larry Williams, a wealthy Boise businessman who spends heavily on state political races. Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman, 20 Feb. 2024 By 2007, the herd had grown to 16 hippos that lived free and continued to multiply in the Magdalena River and surrounding lands, gradually being perceived as a threat to local farmers and fishermen. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 And analysts pointed to possible threats from China. Brad Lendon, CNN, 20 Feb. 2024 Last month, Walter Olson, of the Cato Institute, had an observation: With all his bluster and threats, Trump has not been able to corrupt or intimidate the courts. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 19 Feb. 2024 The Fischer campaign appears to be treating Mr. Osborn as a nuisance, not as a serious threat to her bid for a third term. Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English thret coercion, threat, from Old English thrēat coercion; akin to Middle High German drōz annoyance, Latin trudere to push, thrust

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of threat was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near threat

Cite this Entry

“Threat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threat. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

threat

noun
ˈthret
1
: an expression of an intent to do harm
stop making threats
2
: something that threatens
the crumbling cliff was a threat to the village below
3
: an indication of something impending
the sky held a threat of rain

Legal Definition

threat

noun
: an expression of an intention to injure another : menace sense 1
criminal laws against making terroristic threats

More from Merriam-Webster on threat

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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