See also: Threat and þreat



  • (UK, US) enPR: thrĕt, IPA(key): /θɹɛt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛt

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English threte, thret, thrat, thræt, threat, from Old English þrēat (crowd, swarm, troop, army, press; pressure, trouble, calamity, oppression, force, violence, threat), from Proto-Germanic *þrautaz, closely tied to Proto-Germanic *þrautą (displeasure, complaint, grievance, labour, toil), from Proto-Indo-European *trewd- (to squeeze, push, press), whence also Middle Low German drōt (threat, menace, danger), Middle High German drōz (annoyance, disgust, horror, terror, fright), Icelandic þraut (struggle, labour, distress), Latin trūdō (push, verb).


threat (plural threats)

  1. An expression of intent to injure or punish another.
  2. An indication of potential or imminent danger.
    • 2013 May-June, Katrina G. Claw, “Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.
  3. A person or object that is regarded as a danger; a menace.
    • 2011 September 2, Phil McNulty, “Bulgaria 0-3 England”, in BBC:
      Rooney's United team-mate Chris Smalling was given his debut at right-back and was able to adjust to the international stage in relatively relaxed fashion as Bulgaria barely posed a threat of any consequence.
Usage notesEdit

Adjectives at least commonly used along with the noun: existential, possible

Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English threten, from Old English þrēatian (to press, oppress, repress, correct, threaten). Akin to Middle Dutch drōten (to threaten).


threat (third-person singular simple present threats, present participle threating, simple past and past participle threated)

  1. (transitive) To press; urge; compel.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To threaten.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.vii:
      An hideous Geant horrible and hye, / That with his talnesse seemd to threat the skye []
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, V. i. 37:
      O yes, and soundless too; / For you have stolen their buzzing, Antony, / And very wisely threat before you sting.
  3. (intransitive) To use threats; act or speak menacingly; threaten.