threat·​en·​ing ˈthret-niŋ How to pronounce threatening (audio)
: 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
ˈthret-niŋ-lē How to pronounce threatening (audio)
gestured threateningly

Examples of threatening in a Sentence

economists warning of a threatening recession a threatening silence followed the loud thump in the adjoining motel room threatening rocks lined that narrow stretch of the river through which we would be rafting
Recent Examples on the Web He is bound by a four-year restraining order for sending a threatening and racist message to a state Republican Party official. Daniel Bice, Journal Sentinel, 8 May 2024 Judge Gee recommends that Amazon cease and desist from making threatening statements about unions. Emma Roth, The Verge, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for threatening 

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

Word History

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of threatening was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near threatening

Cite this Entry

“Threatening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on threatening

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