threaten

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English þreaten or þreten, from Old English þrēatian.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

threaten (third-person singular simple present threatens, present participle threatening, simple past and past participle threatened)

  1. To make a threat against someone; to use threats.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, The Hocussing of Cigarette[1]:
      No one, however, would have anything to do with him, as Mr. Keeson's orders in those respects were very strict ; he had often threatened any one of his employés with instant dismissal if he found him in company with one of these touts.
    He threatened me with a knife.
  2. To menace, or be dangerous.
    The rocks threatened the ship's survival.
  3. To portend, or give a warning of.
    The black clouds threatened heavy rain.

Usage notes[edit]

Translations[edit]

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