threat·en·ing | \ ˈthret-niŋ , ˈthre-tᵊn-iŋ \

Definition of threatening 

: expressing or suggesting a threat of harm, danger, etc. received a threatening message a threatening manner : indicating or suggesting the approach of possible trouble or danger saw threatening clouds on the horizon

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from threatening

threateningly \ˈthret-niŋ-lē, ˈthre-tᵊn-iŋ- \ adverb
gestured threateningly

Examples of threatening in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Capital editor Rick Hutzell told staff members Monday morning that a threatening letter had been sent by Ramos. Ian Duncan,, "Capital Gazette suspect allegedly mailed threatening letters before Thursday's shooting," 2 July 2018 Henry, whose casually friendly hey-there bearing seems dropped into the 1880s from the 2010s, is a sweetheart; his threats don’t seem very threatening, and his redemption comes as no surprise. Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, "How Do Carousel and My Fair Lady Fare in 2018?," 8 July 2018 Though Vegas kept up in shots on goal through the first two periods, San Jose’s scoring chances were much more threatening. Tyler Horka,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Palat Leads Lightning Past Bruins; Sharks Knot Series in Game 4," 2 May 2018 There were journals containing derogatory and threatening comments about Jewish people and black people, and comments suggesting frustration with the American government and the media. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Acid-tripping neo-Nazi from Missouri disabled train to ‘save it from black people,’ feds say," 13 July 2018 In the lock-up, Metcalfe said the other man had called him a name and approached him in a threatening manner, police said. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester Police: Man Tried Stabbing Another Man Who Rejected Sexual Advance," 13 July 2018 When asked to leave the area, the group began to move off but made a threatening remark to the public safety officer as a Philadelphia Police Department vehicle was driving by. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Police Arrested a Black Teen Who Was Reportedly Selling Water Outside the Philadelphia Zoo," 7 July 2018 Zainab Chaudry, Maryland liaison for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Dundalk family has experienced threatening incidents at their apartment, and the group is asking Baltimore County police to hasten an inquiry. Jonathan M. Pitts,, "Muslim civil rights group seeks to call attention to alleged harassment of Iraqi refugee family in Dundalk," 3 July 2018 Shelman filed a police report, as did Idaho Public Television after Brown sent a similarly threatening email regarding its debates. Melissa Davlin, idahostatesman, "'Call (him) fake news,' Dem adviser told Harley Brown after threat to Boise radio host," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'threatening.' 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 threatening

1530, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about threatening

Share threatening

Dictionary Entries near threatening






threats action


Statistics for threatening

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for threatening

The first known use of threatening was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on threatening

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


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!