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threaten

[thret-n] /ˈθrɛt n/
verb (used with object)
1.
to utter a threat against; menace:
He threatened the boy with a beating.
2.
to be a menace or source of danger to:
Sickness threatened her peace of mind.
3.
to offer (a punishment, injury, etc.) by way of a threat:
They threatened swift retaliation.
4.
to give an ominous indication of:
The clouds threaten rain.
verb (used without object)
5.
to utter or use threats.
6.
to indicate impending evil or mischief.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English thretnen, Old English thrēatnian, derivative of thrēat pressure, oppression. See threat, -en1
Related forms
threatener, noun
outthreaten, verb (used with object)
prethreaten, verb (used with object)
rethreaten, verb
Synonyms
2. endanger.
Antonyms
2. protect, defend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for threaten
  • Weight training is crucial, of course, but never so much as to threaten injury.
  • Yet, huge global risks threaten to impede the pace of innovation.
  • Opponents of the industry claim cod farming will add to coastal pollution and further threaten salmon and sea trout populations.
  • When temperatures threaten to dip below zero, bring the container into the garage or wrap it in a frost blanket.
  • But weather continues to threaten delay as wave after wave of tropical storms moves through the region.
  • Sometimes it is better to threaten a lawsuit rather than file one.
  • Deforestation and the introduction of dogs, cats and mongooses that eat solenodons threaten to drive the critters to extinction.
  • See how its diversions, dams, and drought have altered river flow and threaten to change the lives of millions of people.
  • These activities threaten the survival and faithful replication of chromosomes and, consequently, of the cells housing them.
  • The carriers argue that open phones would threaten the network.
British Dictionary definitions for threaten

threaten

/ˈθrɛtən/
verb
1.
(transitive) to be a threat to
2.
to be a menacing indication of (something); portend: dark clouds threatened rain
3.
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to express a threat to (a person or people)
Derived Forms
threatener, noun
threatening, adjective
threateningly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for threaten
v.

Old English þreatnian (see threat). Related: Threatened. Threatening in the sense of "portending no good" is recorded from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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11
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