a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace: He confessed under the threat of imprisonment.
an indication or warning of probable trouble: The threat of a storm was in the air.
a person or thing that threatens.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
Archaic. to threaten.

before 900; (noun) Middle English threte, Old English thrēat pressure, oppression; cognate with Old Norse thraut hardship, bitter end; (v.) Middle English threten, Old English thrēatian to press, threaten

counterthreat, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
threat (θrɛt)
1.  a declaration of the intention to inflict harm, pain, or misery
2.  an indication of imminent harm, danger, or pain
3.  a person or thing that is regarded as dangerous or likely to inflict pain or misery
4.  an archaic word for threaten
[Old English; related to Old Norse thraut, Middle Low German drōt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. þreat "crowd, troop," also "oppression, menace," related to þreotan "to trouble, weary," from P.Gmc. *threutanan (cf. Ger. verdrießen "to vex"), from PIE *trud- "push, press" (cf. L. trudere "to press, thrust," O.C.S. trudu "oppression," M.Ir. trott "quarrel, conflict," M.Welsh
cythrud "torture, torment, afflict"). Sense of "conditional declaration of hostile intention" was in O.E. The verb threaten is O.E. þreatnian; threatening in the sense of "portending no good" is recorded from 1530.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see triple threat.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
There's also the threat of pathogens that could thrive in crowded pens and
  escape to harm natural fish populations.
Scientists knew that turbines posed a threat to birds, but nobody had predicted
  they'd be such a problem for bats.
The threat to his life's work could hardly have come at a worse moment.
Not even the threat of a cholera outbreak slowed his pace.
Idioms & Phrases
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