Definition of threatening in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈTHretniNG/


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, hostile
formal minatory
1.1 Law (Of behavior) showing an intention to cause bodily harm.
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.
1.2(Of a person or situation) causing 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, sinister, menacing, alarming, portentous, dark, black, thunderous



Pronunciation: /ˈTHretniNGlē/
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

Syllabification: threat·en·ing

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