1. near, at hand. Imminent, Impending, Threatening all may carry the implication of menace, misfortune, disaster, but they do so in differing degrees. Imminent may portend evil: an imminent catastrophe, but also may mean simply “about to happen”: The merger is imminent. Impending has a weaker sense of immediacy and threat than imminent : Real tax relief legislation is impending, but it too may be used in situations portending disaster: impending social upheaval; to dread the impending investigation. Threatening almost always suggests ominous warning and menace: a threatening sky just before the tornado struck.