"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[thret-n] /ˈθrɛt n/
verb (used with object)
to utter a threat against; menace:
He threatened the boy with a beating.
to be a menace or source of danger to:
Sickness threatened her peace of mind.
to offer (a punishment, injury, etc.) by way of a threat:
They threatened swift retaliation.
to give an ominous indication of:
The clouds threaten rain.
verb (used without object)
to utter or use threats.
to indicate impending evil or mischief.
Origin of threaten
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
2. endanger.
2. protect, defend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for threatened
  • While wild chimps are officially endangered, captive chimps are only threatened.
  • It is responsible for enforcing the laws that protect our threatened fisheries and endangered marine mammals.
  • View the slide show of threatened species that have yet to make it onto the endangered species list.
  • Sandalwood is a threatened species and brazilwood is an endangered species.
  • Some species were believed to be endangered, others threatened.
  • The picture gets even grimmer when all mammals currently endangered or threatened are added to the count.
  • Paradoxically, both are threatened by the way technology has made that easier than ever before.
  • Tobacco companies are routinely threatened with every tax and sales restriction going, and are perennial fixtures on the list.
  • People should help species threatened by climate change move to new habitats, researchers argue in a new paper.
  • One fifth of the world's vertebrates are threatened with extinction.
British Dictionary definitions for threatened


(transitive) to be a threat to
to be a menacing indication of (something); portend: dark clouds threatened rain
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for threatened



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for threaten

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for threatened

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with threatened