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
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.
Recent Examples of threaten from the Web
One survey estimated that one in 25 Americans have been affected by it at some point, either from someone threatening to release sexually explicit images of them or distributing those images.
The Hammond City Court judge has threatened the city with a lawsuit over the decision to shutter the court.
The convention confirmed this news with a tweet, and although Handler has yet to comment, Lahren’s response seems either excited or vaguely threatening: This should be fun!
One remaining possibility is that America might threaten to shoot down North Korean missiles in their boost or ascent phase.
The driver was taken to a hospital with moderate, but not life-threatening, injuries.
Scarborough said, without giving details about the article the tabloid was threatening to run.
Dottie threatens to leave, suggesting to the higher-ups that a trade be made to appease the situation.
Women being able to speak their minds without feeling threatened is a relatively new phenomenon.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'threaten'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of threaten
THREATEN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of threaten for English Language Learners
: 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)
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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