Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "threaten" []

  • To express a threat against. (verb-transitive)
  • To be a source of danger to; menace. (verb-transitive)
  • To give signs or warning of; portend. (verb-transitive)
  • To announce the possibility of in a threat. (verb-transitive)
  • To express or use threats. (verb-intransitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "threaten" in a sentence
  • "So, by ruling that German officials had to use the strictest definition of the word threaten, the European parliament freed Germany to pass a law that seemed to have real teeth in protecting the domestic economy while still enabling German officials to approve most takeovers."
  • "Why does Sarah Palin threaten you so much that you have to make such comments?"
  • "Now that their actions have come to light they may once again threaten the stability of the financial system."