threat

[thret]
noun
1.
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.
2.
an indication or warning of probable trouble: The threat of a storm was in the air.
3.
a person or thing that threatens.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
4.
Archaic. to threaten.

Origin:
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
threat (θrɛt)
 
n
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
 
vb
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
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

threat
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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Example sentences
It is possible to have a sever allergic reaction to a bee sting that is not life-threating.
Because martins return to breeding sites in early spring, they often are confronted with life-threating weather conditions.
The hurdles that obviously non-threating people must jump and the prohibitions against harmless items is completely inane.
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