threat

noun
\ ˈthret How to pronounce threat (audio) \

Definition of threat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage
2 : one that threatens
3 : an indication of something impending the sky held a threat of rain

threat

verb
threated; threating; threats

Definition of threat (Entry 2 of 2)

archaic

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of threat in a Sentence

Noun

He was willing to use violence and threats to get what he wanted. She ignored their threats and continued to do what she felt was right. a country under threat of civil war
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the threat of securities class actions is unquestionably on the minds of executives contemplating IPOs. Hal Scott, WSJ, "The SEC’s Misguided Attack on Shareholder Arbitration," 22 Feb. 2019 That may prove to be a serious strategic blunder by Putin—and this new threat is another. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "As a Key Arms-Control Treaty Is Set to Die, Russia Threatens to Target U.S. with New Nukes," 20 Feb. 2019 If recalcitrant journalists or their sources don’t bow to legal threats, the aggrieved can go on the offensive—in other words, get down and dirty. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019 But in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has already proven that the biggest threat to privacy is its own service. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Facebook’s New York privacy pop-up was small, weird, and filled with sugar," 14 Dec. 2018 Roh's inter-Korean engagement came at a time when the North Korean nuclear threat was relatively weak. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "Unfinished business: Moon's summit dreams echo late mentor," 18 Sep. 2018 Some of her clients were dangerous, almost a certain threat to their communities. Jessica Chou, Glamour, "Shawn Holley Will Free You Now," 11 Dec. 2018 In reality, Joe is a much bigger threat to Beck’s safety than Peach ever was, his obsession with Beck leading to the death of those loved by Beck. Elana Rubin, Teen Vogue, "You Is the Psychological Thriller Showing How Dangerous Rom-Com Tropes Can Be," 7 Nov. 2018 In their opinion, there were no implied or immediate threats. Crystal Ponti, Harper's BAZAAR, "What It's Actually Like To Be Stalked by Joe," 12 Feb. 2019

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for threat

Noun

Middle English thret coercion, threat, from Old English thrēat coercion; akin to Middle High German drōz annoyance, Latin trudere to push, thrust

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about threat

Statistics for threat

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for threat

The first known use of threat was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for threat

threat

noun

English Language Learners Definition of threat

: a statement saying you will be harmed if you do not do what someone wants you to do
: someone or something that could cause trouble, harm, etc.
: the possibility that something bad or harmful could happen

threat

noun
\ ˈthret How to pronounce threat (audio) \

Kids Definition of threat

1 : the act of showing an intention to do harm
2 : someone or something that threatens the threat of punishment

threat

noun

Legal Definition of threat

: an expression of an intention to injure another : menace sense 1 criminal laws against making terroristic threats

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on threat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with threat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for threat

Spanish Central: Translation of threat

Nglish: Translation of threat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of threat for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about threat

Comments on threat

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!