- noun a warning to someone that you are going to do something unpleasant, especially if he or she does not do what you want
- noun spoken or written words which say that something unpleasant may happen to someone, and which frighten that person
- noun an action or situation that could be harmful or dangerous
Origin & History of “threat”
Threat originally meant ‘trouble, oppression’; ‘expression of an intention to do harm’ is a secondary sense, which arose out of the notion of ‘putting pressure’ on someone. It came from a prehistoric base *thraut-, *threut-, *thrut-, which probably went back to Indo-European *trud- ‘push, press’ (source also of Latin trūdere ‘thrust’, from which English gets abstruse, intrude, etc, and probably also of English thrust).