Definition of threatening in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈθrɛt(ə)nɪŋ/


1Having a hostile or deliberately frightening quality or manner: her mother had received a threatening letter
More example sentences
  • His voice almost had a threatening quality to it.
  • He raised both his crutches and used them in a threatening manner towards the officers.
  • Earlier this year, the Tahsi church received a threatening letter warning against allowing Lee to attend worship services.
menacing, intimidating, bullying, frightening, terrifying, scary, fearsome, mean-looking, alarming, forbidding, baleful;
warning, admonitory, cautionary
rare minacious, minatory, minatorial, comminatory
1.1 Law (Of behaviour) showing an intention to cause bodily harm: Taylor was in custody on a charge of threatening behaviour
More example sentences
  • He pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm, using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, breach of the peace and damaging the windscreen of a car belonging to a police officer.
  • Prior pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon.
  • He pleaded guilty to two offences of robbery, two of threatening behaviour, one of possessing an offensive weapon and three of failing to surrender to bail.
1.2Causing someone to feel vulnerable or at risk: she was a type he found threatening
More example sentences
  • It has become an insecure and even threatening place for me.
  • But playing the odds is very different from tempting fate; for Shane, an emotional risk is a lot less threatening than high-stakes blackjack.
  • In general, some stalkers tend to be seen as less threatening and less dangerous than others.
1.3(Of weather conditions) indicating that bad weather is likely: black threatening clouds
More example sentences
  • As expected the course proved to be in excellent condition but as luck would have it the competitors had to contend with heavy winds and threatening conditions.
  • Outside, dark, threatening clouds covered the sun, and the air was heavy.
  • I had planned a picnic, but that was scuppered by the dark, dark, threatening clouds that loomed over Berkshire this afternoon.
ominous, glowering, brooding, sinister, menacing, black, thunderous, dark, wintry, gloomy, heavy, dire, ill, evil, baleful, forbidding, doomy, ugly, unpromising, portentous, foreboding, unpropitious, pessimistic, inauspicious, unfavourable, unlucky, ill-fated, dangerous
archaic direful
rare minacious



Pronunciation: /ˈθrɛt(ə)nɪŋli/
Example sentences
  • He pursued me threateningly and when I saw his two friends coming up behind him I realised that I was in trouble.
  • The last call for passengers heading for Chicago fills the air threateningly.
  • She glared at him threateningly and then spun around, before he could say anything abusive.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: threat¦en|ing

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