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 threateningly (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 The lawsuit between Americore Holdings and Michael Frey has yet to be settled, but the FBI was forced to get involved after Frey received a threatening note. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "FBI raids company tied to Joe Biden brother," 18 Feb. 2020 An 18-year-old Bullitt Central High School student is in police custody and faces criminal charges after a threatening note was discovered at the school Thursday. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Bullitt Central student arrested after threatening note leads to soft lockdown at school," 15 Feb. 2018 The rapid spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus, while not particularly threatening outside China, could involve the Pentagon. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Could the U.S. Military Help Battle the Coronavirus?," 1 Feb. 2020 Changes to Earth’s climate became yet more threatening, to the point where direct intervention is now under serious consideration. The Economist, "Of anniversaries and climate change 2019 in review: science and technology," 30 Dec. 2019 One of the two boys who had allegedly looked at the 15-year-old boy in a threatening manner, then went to his mother’s car in the lot and told her what happened. cleveland, "Disturbance at supermarket leads to charges for two mothers, three teens: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 7 Dec. 2019 However, in the second period, United looked a little more threatening, with Juan Mata and Harry Maguire spurning golden opportunities., "West Ham Premier League Month in Review: September - Best Player, Worst Performance & Overall Rating," 4 Oct. 2019 While antibiotic resistant bacteria have become steadily more threatening, so have resistant fungal infections. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cidara gets $30M upfront, possibly hundreds of millions more, for its antifungal drug," 4 Sep. 2019 If #MeToo is a way to overthrow the old guard, Little Fresh Meat is a way to appoint new heartthrobs and recast the mold in a non-traditional, less threatening, and far cuddlier image. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, Week of April 5," 5 Apr. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of threatening was in 1530

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Statistics for threatening

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Threatening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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