Definition of menace in US 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’
    • ‘Whooping cough is still a menace to British babies despite widespread use of vaccinations, research revealed yesterday.’
    • ‘Although medical treatment has improved in recent times, the disease is still a menace to many people's health.’
    • ‘Stray dogs should not be allowed to roam and be a menace and threat to the public, especially children, the weak and the aged.’
    • ‘Yes, I was a criminal, a drunk, a drug dealer, an addict and a menace to society.’
    • ‘So there I was, behind bars, only 21 but already a dangerous criminal, and a menace to society, according to papers and television.’
    • ‘He was uncompromising and a menace to world peace.’
    • ‘During sentencing, Judge Hernandez stated that Diane was dangerous and a menace to society.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The man is a menace to everything he once professed to represent, which makes him either delusional or hypocritical.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This youth and his family are well known for stealing cars and are nothing but a menace to the community.’
    • ‘The council claims skateboarders are a menace to pedestrians and cause damage running in to tens of thousands of pounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘People who drink and drive are a menace to themselves and other road users,’ Mr Diment said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said various agencies of the Centre and the concerned state police are coordinating to tackle the menace of terrorist funding.’
    • ‘According to police, the scooters, which should only be used on private land, are a menace to pedestrians and motorists.’
    danger, peril, risk, hazard, threat
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    1. 1.1 A threatening quality, tone, or atmosphere.
      ‘he spoke the words with a hint of menace’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Everyone is friendly, relaxed and enjoying the warm evening without a hint of menace or bad behaviour.’
      • ‘Bovell and his band conjured up an atmosphere of potent menace and seething sensuality.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in his voice that made him uneasy.’
      • ‘By some strange reason, when Tiffany's front door opened today after I knocked, I felt an aura of menace glaring back.’
      • ‘Night blanketed the land as she settled in, she had almost fallen asleep when an angry and threatening presence enveloped her, almost palpable menace.’
      • ‘These songs are infused with a hint of twangy menace, bubbling under but never exploding.’
      • ‘Yet the sense of space, of distance, the remoteness of the places through which one travelled never contained a hint of menace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in the pilot's voice that left no doubt as to his intent’
      • ‘All Pinter's plays have a common atmosphere of darkness, menace and psychological intrigue.’
      • ‘There is an atmosphere emerging here, an atmosphere of menace that the media help transport and magnify.’
      • ‘Polaski stalks the stage with confidence, her clawlike hands in a constant state of threatening menace.’
      • ‘There was a hint of menace in the way he said it, a low growl underlying his words.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this age of computer design, stadium mood and atmosphere can be engineered to give an aura of menace to the most sanguine opponents.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Increasing consumerism has added to the mobile phone menace.’
      • ‘Two silent support performers add to the atmosphere of surreal menace.’
      • ‘I mistook the atmosphere of tension and menace to mean dehumanized relationships.’
      threat, ominousness, intimidation, warning, ill-omen
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    2. 1.2informal A person or thing that causes trouble or annoyance.
      ‘his kid sister, that chatty little menace, had become the knockout of the neighborhood’
      • ‘Ben is doing well, he is full of cheek and is a complete menace, good fun though.’
      • ‘But in the hands of the wrong people, a Rottweiler or a big, powerful dog of any breed is an absolute menace.’
      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]
  • Threaten, especially in a malignant or hostile manner.

    ‘Africa's elephants are still menaced by poaching’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘McDonagh menaced him into believing he was in danger of being attacked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘General Vandamme was heard to shout that they would be masters at Tombigbee and menaced them with his sword and the threat of drowning.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few months later that system collapsed, to the immense benefit of everyone living under or menaced by it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Deliberative democracy is continually menaced by what James Madison, in his Federalist Paper 51, termed ‘the mischief of faction’.’
    • ‘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 nearby shopkeeper who tried to stop the robber was also menaced with the gun as he tried to force the getaway car door open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A survey by the women's federation covering 384 families found that around 250 wives were being menaced, insulted or cursed by their husbands.’
    • ‘Despite their often misunderstood appearance, these were teens to be immensely proud of, not menaced by or feared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Influenced by anxiety about the future, every faction across the political spectrum found something to feel menaced by.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As long as populations are menaced by banditry, civil war, guerrilla campaigns, and counter-insurgency by beleaguered governments, they cannot be secure.’
    • ‘The very kernel of our identity is menaced by the prospect of genetic engineering of the human germline.’
    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’.