1. a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace: He confessed under the threat of imprisonment.
  2. an indication or warning of probable trouble: The threat of a storm was in the air.
  3. a person or thing that threatens.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. Archaic. to threaten.


  1. a declaration of the intention to inflict harm, pain, or misery
  2. an indication of imminent harm, danger, or pain
  3. a person or thing that is regarded as dangerous or likely to inflict pain or misery


  1. an archaic word for threaten

n.Old English þreat “crowd, troop,” also “oppression, menace,” related to þreotan “to trouble, weary,” from Proto-Germanic *threutanan (cf. German verdrießen “to vex”), from PIE *trud- “push, press” (cf. Latin trudere “to press, thrust,” Old Church Slavonic trudu “oppression,” Middle Irish trott “quarrel, conflict,” M.Welsh cythrud “torture, torment, afflict”). Sense of “conditional declaration of hostile intention” was in Old English. see triple threat.

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