threat Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “threat” in the English Dictionary

"threat" in British English

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threatnoun [C]

uk   /θret/  us   /θret/
B2 a ​suggestion that something ​unpleasant or ​violent will ​happen, ​especially if a ​particularaction or ​order is not ​followed: [+ to infinitive] Her ​parents carried outtheir threat to take away her ​mobilephone if her ​grades didn't ​improve. The threat ofjailfailed to ​deter him from ​pettycrime. Drunken ​drivers pose a ​serious threat (= ​cause a lot of ​harm) to other ​roadusers. He says he'll ​tell the ​authorities but it's just an empty threat (= it will not ​happen).
be under threat of sth
to be in a ​situation where ​people are ​threatening you with something ​bad or ​unpleasant: She ​left the ​country under threat of ​arrest if she ​returned.

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(Definition of threat from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"threat" in American English

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threatnoun

 us   /θret/
  • threat noun (PROMISE TO HURT)

[C] a ​statement that someone will be ​hurt or harmed, esp. if the ​person does not do something in ​particular: She was ​fired after making threats to her co-workers.
  • threat noun (UNWANTED POSSIBILITY)

[C/U] the ​possibility that something ​unwanted will ​happen, or a ​person or thing that is ​likely to ​cause something ​unwanted to ​happen: [U] A threat of ​rain is in today’s ​forecast. [U] The ​boundarydisputeraised the threat of ​war.
(Definition of threat from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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