Definition of threatening in English:



  • 1Having a hostile or deliberately frightening quality or manner.

    ‘her mother had received a threatening letter’
    • ‘I've already deleted five very threatening, ugly comments.’
    • ‘It is understood the family living at the two-storey home received a threatening letter in the past few days, telling them to get out of the house by 5pm that day.’
    • ‘They sneered and chuckled, holding rocks and sticks in their hands in a threatening manner.’
    • ‘Despite his height, he did have a threatening manner about him.’
    • ‘If your children see you shouting, abusing and behaving in a threatening manner to other people, they're going to think that this is an acceptable way of conducting oneself.’
    • ‘People should come to us before the threatening letters start to arrive as the earlier we are contacted the more we can assist.’
    • ‘He raised both his crutches and used them in a threatening manner towards the officers.’
    • ‘His voice almost had a threatening quality to it.’
    • ‘A former Royal Marine who allegedly had his ankle broken during an unlawful arrest had been drunk and behaving in a threatening manner, a court was told yesterday.’
    • ‘At the very least, to be a defensible use of a firearm, the shooter must substantiate that the other weapon exists and that it is being brought to bear in a threatening manner.’
    • ‘Upon their arrival, he raised his hoe in a threatening manner.’
    • ‘Julie revealed she that has received a string of threatening letters since joining the fight against the far right.’
    • ‘Earlier this year, the Tahsi church received a threatening letter warning against allowing Lee to attend worship services.’
    • ‘He said two mistakes had been made - the withdrawal of the passes and the threatening letter.’
    • ‘He asked, in a threatening manner, if I wanted to stay with the company.’
    • ‘His breath brushed my ear as he whispered in a threatening manner,’
    • ‘When he recovered he confronted me in a threatening manner, before leaving in a barrage of shouted obscenities.’
    • ‘Swamp life doesn't sound necessarily threatening or hostile as much as just plain miserable.’
    • ‘In 2002 he received a police caution - this time for sending a threatening letter.’
    • ‘Agricola, stated Tacitus, invaded Caledonia because the northern tribes were acting in a threatening manner.’
    menacing, intimidating, bullying, frightening, terrifying, scary, fearsome, mean-looking, alarming, forbidding, baleful
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    1. 1.1Law (of behaviour) showing an intention to cause bodily harm.
      ‘Taylor was in custody on a charge of threatening behaviour’
      • ‘An earlier hearing had found him guilty of assaulting a shopkeeper and using threatening behaviour against police officers who arrested him.’
      • ‘Prior pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon.’
      • ‘In court he also pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour and criminal damage on an occasion when he had been drinking following the funeral of a close friend.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Causing someone to feel vulnerable or at risk.
      ‘she was a type he found threatening’
      • ‘It has become an insecure and even threatening place for me.’
      • ‘In general, some stalkers tend to be seen as less threatening and less dangerous than others.’
      • ‘But playing the odds is very different from tempting fate; for Shane, an emotional risk is a lot less threatening than high-stakes blackjack.’
      • ‘The black gown is very threatening while the red is more vibrant, friendly and stands out more.’
    3. 1.3(of weather conditions) indicating that bad weather is likely.
      ‘black threatening clouds’
      • ‘West, across the rugged mountains and canyons of the southern Rockies, hung threatening cloud formations.’
      • ‘As she neared the summit of K2, on August 13, it was late in the day and threatening clouds were forming to the north, but she kept on.’
      • ‘We can smell the smoke and it's kind of hard to tell what's a threatening cloud and what's just smoke.’
      • ‘But just off in the distance another bank of dark and threatening clouds is quickly rolling in, bringing with it the typical heavy rain and fog.’
      • ‘I lingered a long time in the rocky little cove, skimming pebbles of green marble across the waves and picturing the saint arriving on such a day of threatening weather.’
      • ‘Luck was with the golfers as the threatening weather never really materialized.’
      • ‘The start was not auspicious as an earlier thunderstorm had given way to threatening clouds.’
      • ‘Due to the mountain range and its threatening weather, we've decided to drive awhile to more friendly geography.’
      • ‘Outside, dark, threatening clouds covered the sun, and the air was heavy.’
      • ‘Despite threatening rain clouds, the athletes were met with blue skies in the Square, where there were speeches and presentations made, in front of a crowd of several thousand locals.’
      • ‘And be prepared to move to higher ground, or to a place of safe shelter if threatening weather moves into your neighborhood.’
      • ‘Behind him all was dark, the faint outline of trees on the horizon swaying perilously below a threatening mass of cloud.’
      • ‘The black, thick, threatening clouds hovered just offshore; she remembered Conall's warning.’
      • ‘I noticed how cool it was under the threatening clouds, and I noticed drops of water on my car and on my skin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite threatening clouds, winter sunshine broke through for much of the service and not a drop of rain fell.’
      • ‘There are some very threatening clouds around, and the weather forecast shows lots of storms nearby.’
      • ‘The threatening rain clouds above had moved, allowing the full moon to shine and cast a glow in the area.’
      • ‘The threatening storm clouds clear abruptly, shafts of sun returning.’
      • ‘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
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