Definition of menace in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘However, while sales of the machines are booming, critics claim they pose a menace to riders and pedestrians alike and are destroying the tranquillity of parks and beaches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So there I was, behind bars, only 21 but already a dangerous criminal, and a menace to society, according to papers and television.’
    • ‘During sentencing, Judge Hernandez stated that Diane was dangerous and a menace to society.’
    • ‘This youth and his family are well known for stealing cars and are nothing but a menace to the community.’
    • ‘Stray dogs should not be allowed to roam and be a menace and threat to the public, especially children, the weak and the aged.’
    • ‘He said various agencies of the Centre and the concerned state police are coordinating to tackle the menace of terrorist funding.’
    • ‘It is an argument for the sensible control of badger numbers so they are once again regarded as an asset to the countryside, not a menace to it.’
    • ‘Yes, I was a criminal, a drunk, a drug dealer, an addict and a menace to society.’
    • ‘According to police, the scooters, which should only be used on private land, are a menace to pedestrians and motorists.’
    • ‘The man is a menace to everything he once professed to represent, which makes him either delusional or hypocritical.’
    • ‘Although medical treatment has improved in recent times, the disease is still a menace to many people's health.’
    • ‘The council claims skateboarders are a menace to pedestrians and cause damage running in to tens of thousands of pounds.’
    • ‘‘People who drink and drive are a menace to themselves and other road users,’ Mr Diment said.’
    • ‘Whooping cough is still a menace to British babies despite widespread use of vaccinations, research revealed yesterday.’
    • ‘He was uncompromising and a menace to world peace.’
    • ‘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.’
    danger, peril, risk, hazard, threat
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    1. 1.1mass noun A threatening quality or atmosphere.
      ‘he spoke the words with a hint of menace’
      • ‘Everyone is friendly, relaxed and enjoying the warm evening without a hint of menace or bad behaviour.’
      • ‘By some strange reason, when Tiffany's front door opened today after I knocked, I felt an aura of menace glaring back.’
      • ‘These songs are infused with a hint of twangy menace, bubbling under but never exploding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The name Cul-de-sac and the press release's hints of menace suggest the play is about the idea of neighbourhood or the failure of human connection.’
      • ‘Yet the sense of space, of distance, the remoteness of the places through which one travelled never contained a hint of menace.’
      • ‘There is an atmosphere emerging here, an atmosphere of menace that the media help transport and magnify.’
      • ‘I mistook the atmosphere of tension and menace to mean dehumanized relationships.’
      • ‘His strategy is to play down expectations for a breakthrough while hinting with ever increasing menace that the longer it takes the harder it will be to end the deadlock.’
      • ‘The miscreant's neighbours plaintively tell Ferris they can no longer continue to live in the atmosphere of menace that the young man seems to generate.’
      • ‘All Pinter's plays have a common atmosphere of darkness, menace and psychological intrigue.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in the way he said it, a low growl underlying his words.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in his voice that made him uneasy.’
      • ‘In this age of computer design, stadium mood and atmosphere can be engineered to give an aura of menace to the most sanguine opponents.’
      • ‘Increasing consumerism has added to the mobile phone menace.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in the pilot's voice that left no doubt as to his intent’
      • ‘Night blanketed the land as she settled in, she had almost fallen asleep when an angry and threatening presence enveloped her, almost palpable menace.’
      • ‘Bovell and his band conjured up an atmosphere of potent menace and seething sensuality.’
      • ‘Two silent support performers add to the atmosphere of surreal menace.’
      • ‘Polaski stalks the stage with confidence, her clawlike hands in a constant state of threatening menace.’
      threat, ominousness, intimidation, warning, ill-omen
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    2. 1.2menacesBritish Threatening words or actions.
      ‘a demand of money with menaces’
      • ‘At best, it smacks of greed; at worst it's begging with menaces, particularly if it's unaccompanied older kids wearing hatchets and hoodies.’
      • ‘Threatening behaviour and obtaining money with menaces are serious criminal offences.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is already the offence of blackmail, which penalizes the making of unwarranted demands with menaces, and this should be the starting-point.’
      • ‘He was also charged with demanding money with menaces, namely £100,000 from ‘Witness A’ - on the same dates.’
      • ‘In the ensuing litigation, this was portrayed as blackmail - a serious offence that has a maximum prison term of 14 years, and which is defined as making an unwarranted demand with a view to gain, with menaces.’
      • ‘Costi, of Woolwich, south-east London, admitted a charge of demanding £10,000 with menaces at an earlier hearing.’
      • ‘It rakes a great variety of forms, from ostracism to demands with menaces for money or other benefits.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Strictly, to knock on doors and demand with menaces is blackmail.’’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3informal A person or thing that causes trouble or annoyance.
      • ‘But in the hands of the wrong people, a Rottweiler or a big, powerful dog of any breed is an absolute menace.’
      • ‘Ben is doing well, he is full of cheek and is a complete menace, good fun though.’
      nuisance, pest, source of annoyance, annoyance, plague, torment, troublemaker, mischief-maker, a thorn in someone's flesh, a thorn in someone's side
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[with object]
  • Be a threat or possible danger to.

    ‘Africa's elephants are still menaced by poaching’
    • ‘In High Noon, Gary Cooper's loyalty is not to himself but to his town, which is menaced by the gunman who will arrive on the noon train.’
    • ‘As long as populations are menaced by banditry, civil war, guerrilla campaigns, and counter-insurgency by beleaguered governments, they cannot be secure.’
    • ‘That is according to county councillor Brian Mead, who says regular work to fix damage to the walkways is ‘pointless’ while pedestrians are still being menaced by lorries and cars mounting the kerbs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The play tells the story of Trassie Conlee who tries desperately to hold on to her home where she lives with her brother Neelus, while been menaced by her cousins Dinzee and Jack Conlee.’
    • ‘Influenced by anxiety about the future, every faction across the political spectrum found something to feel menaced by.’
    • ‘Deliberative democracy is continually menaced by what James Madison, in his Federalist Paper 51, termed ‘the mischief of faction’.’
    • ‘Despite their often misunderstood appearance, these were teens to be immensely proud of, not menaced by or feared.’
    • ‘After 20 years, she remains best known for her first big break, as a babysitter menaced by knife-wielding maniac, Michael Myers, in the slasher film Halloween.’
    • ‘A survey by the women's federation covering 384 families found that around 250 wives were being menaced, insulted or cursed by their husbands.’
    • ‘The very kernel of our identity is menaced by the prospect of genetic engineering of the human germline.’
    • ‘General Vandamme was heard to shout that they would be masters at Tombigbee and menaced them with his sword and the threat of drowning.’
    • ‘McDonagh menaced him into believing he was in danger of being attacked.’
    • ‘Upon entering her sister's front yard Kathy is surprised to find Josh and herself being menaced by two strange dogs whose behavior seems highly territorial yet inappropriately so.’
    • ‘For a number of centuries after the decline of the Roman Empire, the coast was menaced by Saracen pirates, and the local population took refuge in the inaccessible mountain hinterland.’
    • ‘The bicycle factory was really a munitions factory, built in 1938, when Romania was menaced by bellicose neighbors during the buildup toward World War II.’
    • ‘The isolation quickly got to Yates, and he was transformed from a relatively normal young man into a drunken monster that constantly menaced his young partner.’
    • ‘But by far the most ludicrous begging episode happened in Dundee, where I was menaced by that little-known phenomenon, the pre-teen bike gang.’
    • ‘A few months later that system collapsed, to the immense benefit of everyone living under or menaced by it.’
    • ‘A nearby shopkeeper who tried to stop the robber was also menaced with the gun as he tried to force the getaway car door open.’
    threatening, ominous, black, thunderous, glowering, brooding, sinister, intimidating, frightening, terrifying, fearsome, mean-looking, alarming, forbidding, baleful, warning
    looming, louring, in the wind, impending, brewing, black, dark, heavy, portentous, ugly, imminent
    threaten, be a danger to, put at risk, jeopardize, imperil, loom over
    bully, intimidate, issue threats to, threaten, frighten, scare, alarm, terrify
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Middle English: via Old French from late Latin minacia, from Latin minax, minac- ‘threatening’, from minae ‘threats’.