- 1to tell someone that you will harm or punish them if they do not do what you want
- 2to be likely to harm or damage something or someone
Using threaten: Examples
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "threaten" can be used in various situations through the following examples!
He threatened to fire her if she didn't finish the project on time.
The storm threatens to damage the crops.
The new policy threatens to undermine the company's reputation.
threaten Synonyms and Antonyms
Phrases with threaten
a threat that is not carried out
She made an empty threat to call the police.
The new virus poses a serious threat to public health.
The kidnappers carried out their threat to harm the hostages.
Origins of threaten
from Old English 'þreatian', meaning 'to press, urge'
Summary: threaten in Brief
The verb 'threaten' [ˈθret(ə)n] means to warn someone of harm or punishment if they don't comply with one's demands. It can also mean to be likely to cause harm or damage. Examples include 'He threatened to fire her if she didn't finish the project on time.' and 'The storm threatens to damage the crops.' 'Threaten' is often used with phrases like 'empty threat' and 'pose a threat,' and it has formal synonyms like 'intimidate' and 'menace.'