Definition of threat in English:

threat

noun

  • 1A statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.

    ‘members of her family have received death threats’
    • ‘Her attendance at court had to be secured by a witness summons and a threat of arrest.’
    • ‘So she tried suicide threats, guilt trips, manipulation, and even death threats.’
    • ‘The former civil servant has endured beatings, solitary confinement and death threats while in prison.’
    • ‘The difficulty is to distinguish between a threat and a warning or mere advice.’
    • ‘Death threats sent by others are being taken seriously as intent to kill the men on their release.’
    • ‘Both had made death threats against her before her desperate flight from the murder scene.’
    • ‘She would not say what the nature of the threats was, but she did confirm they were not death threats.’
    • ‘The row occurred because of the claimant's complaint about the barking dog and his threats to take action about it.’
    • ‘There have been claims the players want to withdraw from the controversial fixture after receiving death threats.’
    • ‘He claims to have received death threats, says his home was attacked and his fast-food van was petrol bombed.’
    • ‘Death threats, police escorts and a lifetime of shame are sadly the result of his honest mistake.’
    • ‘He also admitted a further charge of making a threat to destroy or damage her home.’
    • ‘The inspectors had received repeated death threats from landlords who objected to government inspections.’
    • ‘After appearing on the programme he was subjected to a series of death threats.’
    • ‘We interpreted the letter as a threat to sue, and we believe it was meant to be such a threat.’
    • ‘Sikh elders have appealed to the community and asked that the death threats be withdrawn.’
    • ‘I began to receive various threats, which included reporting me to the Law Society.’
    • ‘His house is under constant surveillance and he has received numerous death threats.’
    • ‘I can stop this only if you are willing to talk to me calmly and sort out everything without threats.’
    • ‘It is the type of threat that the deceased received from the accused until shortly before her death.’
    threatening remark, warning, ultimatum, intimidating remark
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law A menace of bodily harm, such as may restrain a person's freedom of action.
      • ‘It was not as if she was trying to escape from an immediate threat of violence to her.’
      • ‘Indeed, there was some evidence in this case that he had made threats of harm to others.’
      • ‘There was yelling and posturing, but no threats of violence or physical contact.’
      • ‘He was alleged to have forced the complainant by violence or threats to engage in sexual activity with him.’
      • ‘The conviction makes clear the fact that this offence can be committed by threats, as well as by the use of violence.’
  • 2A person or thing likely to cause damage or danger.

    ‘hurricane damage poses a major threat to many coastal communities’
    • ‘Criticising students and putting them under pressure is seen to be a dangerous threat to their sense of self.’
    • ‘I was kept confined in a room the whole time and one officer even suggested that I was dangerous and a threat to him.’
    • ‘The bird excrement is highly toxic, bio-hazardous and poses a serious threat to humans.’
    • ‘Any nation faced with a major threat to its security and way of life is entitled to take steps to protect itself.’
    • ‘We need to focus our attention on where the next threat to our collective security will come from.’
    • ‘These boys are dangerous, you know, and a threat to the moral well-being of all our children.’
    • ‘This very likely outcome posed a serious threat to Italian moderate public opinion.’
    • ‘He was soon to be king, and I was a dangerous threat to his people, yet he didn't want me captured.’
    • ‘Magistrates said the pub had caused a public nuisance and was likely to cause a threat to public safety in the future.’
    • ‘Diabetes is likely to remain a huge threat to public health in the years to come.’
    • ‘What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world?’
    • ‘Assuming she stays free of injury, the long jump is likely to be the main threat to her quintuple ambition.’
    • ‘The home secretary says those who are to be held under house arrest represent a serious threat to national security.’
    • ‘The irony is that if there is a threat to Australia, it will most likely come from our region.’
    • ‘The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been described as a serious threat to national security.’
    • ‘Knowledge that a stress is likely to occur constitutes a threat to the individual.’
    • ‘Prison bosses became concerned that there could be other activities that could pose a threat to jail security.’
    • ‘Normally calm and measured people will go red at the mention of his name and tell you that he is a dangerous threat to liberty.’
    • ‘Unless he was posing a genuine threat to our security, it would be illegal to attack.’
    • ‘That poses a big threat to us all and makes the world a very dangerous place.’
    1. 2.1in singular The possibility of trouble, danger, or ruin.
      ‘the company faces the threat of liquidation proceedings’
      mass noun ‘thousands of rail freight jobs came under threat’
      • ‘Landmarks across the city were under threat from roads, trams and an over-zealous council.’
      • ‘Under threat of further violence he was ordered to hand over his money bag but he refused and shouted at them to leave him alone.’
      • ‘The network of free cash machines in the UK is under threat, a leading building society warned today.’
      • ‘Under threat are the turtle, fresh water prawn and crocodiles in the nearby sanctuary.’
      • ‘It is spurious to claim that this important archaeological site is under threat.’
      • ‘Mr Whittam said that the pantomime was under threat because there weren't enough volunteers to do the work.’
      • ‘This means that a very large number of languages are only spoken by a few hundred people and are under threat of extinction.’
      • ‘Government funding through the Arts Council was under threat if they were rejected.’
      • ‘A number of other private forests in the area were also under threat for a time.’
      • ‘For many people in York, the thought that such a fine church as St Helen's could be under threat will be a shock.’
      • ‘Under threat of takeover, once-sleepy executives rushed to reshape their companies.’
      • ‘He said the borough's other schools had been telephoned about the possible threat.’
      • ‘Their mission was to save a collection of bones from the ancient graveyard, which had been under threat from the sea.’
      • ‘If a drunk kicks off in a club, a bouncer needs to know how to be able to handle the situation and defuse the threat of possible violence.’
      • ‘It is not so much the notion of democracy itself that is under threat - yet.’
      • ‘Yes, Christmas is under threat but the threat is not from a liberal plot.’
      • ‘Both are works of meticulous detail and in each, there are powerful depictions of innocence under threat.’
      • ‘Everything from organ recitals to nativity plays would be under threat.’
      • ‘Mankind has always been under threat from the extremes of nature and from extreme ideology in pursuit of power.’
      • ‘Obviously, if we do not set them on the right path in life our own security is under threat.’
      danger, peril, hazard, menace, risk
      possibility, chance, probability, likelihood, risk, danger, peril, menace, fear, prospect
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English thrēat ‘oppression’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch verdrieten ‘grieve’, German verdriessen ‘irritate’.

Pronunciation

threat

/θrɛt/