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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 of threaten
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for threatener
Historical Examples
  • The large young man halted and presented a grinning face to his threatener.

    Port O' Gold Louis John Stellman
  • Leiba went to the town hall, then to the sub-prefecture to denounce the threatener, begging that he might be watched.

  • Fear, too, was out of the question; there must be no such relationship as that between the threatened and the threatener.

    What The Left Hand Was Doing Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Two French sub-officers now suddenly appeared upon the scene, one of them knocked the threatener aside.

    Moscow Fred Whishaw
British Dictionary definitions for threatener

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 threatener

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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