Definition of menace in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɛnəs/


1A person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger: a new initiative aimed at beating the menace of drugs the snakes are a menace to farm animals
More example sentences
  • Leonard was jailed for 13 months after a judge told him he had not only been a danger but a menace to other road users.
  • Even more important, they might fail to notice a menace or threat which if not guarded against might harm or even destroy them, their regime, and possibly even the state as well.
  • During sentencing, Judge Hernandez stated that Diane was dangerous and a menace to society.
danger, peril, risk, hazard, threat;
jeopardy, source of apprehension/dread/fright/fear/terror
1.1 [mass noun] A threatening quality or atmosphere: he spoke the words with a hint of menace
More example sentences
  • Some will argue that this is to develop an atmosphere of doom-laden menace - the gathering thunder, both political and spiritual, looming on the horizon.
  • Bovell and his band conjured up an atmosphere of potent menace and seething sensuality.
  • All Pinter's plays have a common atmosphere of darkness, menace and psychological intrigue.
threat, ominousness, intimidation, warning, ill-omen
rare commination
1.2 (menaces) British Threatening words or actions: a demand of money with menaces
More example sentences
  • On the facts, it appears that Paul could not succeed with this argument; and as he has clearly made an unwarranted demand with menaces, it is submitted he will be found guilty of blackmail.
  • There is already the offence of blackmail, which penalizes the making of unwarranted demands with menaces, and this should be the starting-point.
  • If the person making the demand has in fact a claim of right to the money, then it does not constitute the offence of demanding money with menaces because the circumstances do not amount to stealing.
1.3 informal A person or thing that causes trouble or annoyance.


[with object]
Be a threat or possible danger to: Africa’s elephants are still menaced by poaching
More example sentences
  • McDonagh menaced him into believing he was in danger of being attacked.
  • The elephants have menaced the sprawling plantation ever since, and the masters of Elephant Walk have relied on their loyal native servants to drive the beasts away should they ever get ornery.
  • General Vandamme was heard to shout that they would be masters at Tombigbee and menaced them with his sword and the threat of drowning.
threaten, be a danger to, put at risk, jeopardize, imperil, loom over
bully, intimidate, issue threats to, threaten, frighten, scare, alarm, terrify;
browbeat, cow, terrorize
threatening, ominous, black, thunderous, glowering, brooding, sinister, intimidating, frightening, terrifying, fearsome, mean-looking, alarming, forbidding, baleful, warning
rare minatory, minacious
looming, louring, in the wind, impending, brewing, black, dark, heavy, portentous, ugly, imminent
rare bodeful



Example sentences
  • Maybe the menacers were just a bunch of rowdy, irresponsible kids on an adrenaline rush - no conspiracies, no evil plots.
  • We tell them we need them to be contributors, not menacers to society.
  • Three days later, after the young secretary identified one of her menacers as a former police agent, a fifth thug threatened her life as well.


Middle English: via Old French from late Latin minacia, from Latin minax, minac- 'threatening', from minae 'threats'.

  • The root of menace is Latin minae ‘threats’. The original English sense, which survives mainly in legal contexts, was also ‘a threat’—the Larceny Act of 1861 made it a criminal offence to demand money with menaces, and the phrase has been used in subsequent Acts dealing with similar offences. In the sense ‘a person or thing that threatens danger or catastrophe’, menace is recorded from the mid 19th century, but has since progressively weakened to mean ‘an inconvenience, an annoyance, a nuisance’. There are two cartoon characters called Dennis the Menace: the British Dennis is in a strip cartoon and made his first appearance in issue 452 of the comic the Beano on 17 March 1951. The American Dennis is a character in a single-cell cartoon and appeared just five days earlier in sixteen American newspapers.

Words that rhyme with menace

Dennis, Ennis, Glenys, tennis, Venice

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: men¦ace

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