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Definition of “threaten” - English Dictionary

"threaten" in American English

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threatenverb

 us   /ˈθret·ən/
  • threaten verb (PROMISE TO HURT)

[I/T] to tell someone that you will hurt or harm him or her, esp. if the person does not do something in particular: [I] They threatened to drop him from the team if he didn’t come to practice. [T] Don’t threaten me!
  • threaten verb (WARN OF POSSIBILITY)

[T] to warn of something unpleasant or unwanted: She threatened legal action against the newspaper. Because of continuing drought, millions are threatened with starvation.
(Definition of threaten from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)







"threaten" in British English

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threatenverb

uk   /ˈθret.ən/  us   /ˈθret.ən/
B2 [T] to tell someone that you will kill or hurt them or cause problems if they do not do what you want: They threatened the shopkeeper with a gun. [+ to infinitive] They threatened to kill him unless he did as they asked.
C1 [T] to be likely to cause harm or damage to something or someone: Changing patterns of agriculture are threatening the countryside.
C2 [I] If something bad threatens to happen, it is likely to happen: Look at those clouds! There's a storm threatening.

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(Definition of threaten from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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