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

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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

The Baltimore County Health and Human Services building on York Road in Anneslie was evacuated Thursday morning after a man made threatening statements, Baltimore County Police said. Jessica Anderson,, "Baltimore County Health and Human Services building evacuated after threats," 21 June 2018 Martin said at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, several people, including a Calumet City, Ill., police officer and a family member of a Griffith officer, called Griffith police with complaints that Mulligan had made the threatening statements. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Griffith man accused of making online threats against police, Trump," 12 June 2018 The difficulties journalists face when dealing with threatening behavior from members of the public came into stark relief in Thursday’s deadly attack at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. Washington Post, "Journalists struggle to keep online threats from escalating," 3 July 2018 The difficulties journalists face when dealing with threatening behavior from members of the public came into stark relief in Thursday’s deadly attack at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Handling online threats to journalists presents difficulties," 3 July 2018 The club bled out the final 45 minutes and stoppage time without many more threatening chances, but also little resistance from Atlanta in Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey's area. *** *** *** Live updates from during the game. Patrick Brennan,, "FC Cincinnati dumps four goals on Atlanta, moves into 1st place in USL Eastern Conference," 5 May 2018 There appeared to be no threatening or actual physicality. Michael Smolens,, "They went to emotionally charged political events, and got all civil about it," 2 May 2018 At trial, his lawyer argued that the teenager fired the pistol in the air to scare off someone who made a threatening gesture or remark near the group. Carol Robinson,, "Bank robbery suspect charged in 2nd downtown Birmingham holdup," 20 Apr. 2018 Marco Beltrami’s score is fairly traditional for the genre, combining mechanical screeches with strings and a deep threatening bass. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sight and Silence," 11 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of threatening

1530, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near threatening






threats action


Statistics for threatening

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for threatening

The first known use of threatening was in 1530

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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).


noxious or harmful

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