threat·​en·​ing | \ ˈthret-niŋ How to pronounce threatening (audio) , 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

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Other Words from threatening

threateningly \ ˈthret-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce threatening (audio) , ˈthre-​tᵊn-​iŋ-​ \ adverb
gestured threateningly

Synonyms for threatening


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Examples of threatening in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His one passenger is alive with non-threatening injuries. oregonlive, 5 July 2021 Robots become a non-threatening, non-judgmental, peer-like entity, opening pathways to learning through which the child can explore a new world. Jennifer "jay" Palumbo, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Ahead of World Refugee Day later this month (June 20), the One Free Press Coalition (OFPC) acknowledges the plight of endangered journalists—and calls upon their oppressors cease threatening, unjust treatment. Lydia Belanger, Fortune, 1 June 2021 For to raise a Black son in America means to constantly be worried that the child will be seen as too threatening or too aggressive, like 12-year-old Tamir Rice killed by a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer. Rachel Hardeman, Star Tribune, 24 May 2021 And what’s more threatening to the status quo than a visionary? Hilton Als, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2021 Defense attorney Eric Nelson referred to those bystanders as an angry, threatening, distracting crowd that prevented Chauvin from noticing the moment Floyd took his last breath. Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2021 Tricia Raffensperger, whose husband became persona non grata within his state GOP for stating that President Joe Biden won Georgia in November, told Reuters about the intimidation and shared threatening text messages sent to her in April. Amara Walker, Chris Youd And Ray Sanchez, CNN, 11 June 2021 Higuaín, 36, has overall been more effective than Pizarro for the team’s attack despite being in the latter stages of his career because of his ability to make more threatening passes and inject pace into Inter Miami’s offense. Khobi Price,, 9 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of threatening

1530, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for threatening

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The first known use of threatening was in 1530

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Dictionary Entries Near threatening






threats action


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Statistics for threatening

Last Updated

16 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Threatening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on threatening

Nglish: Translation of threatening for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of threatening for Arabic Speakers


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