Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

threat - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun threat pronunciation in American English /θret/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable] an occasion when someone says that they will cause you harm or problems, especially if you do not do what they tell you to do
    threat of: After threats of legal action they stopped the construction.
    make/issue a threat: He would not make threats he wasn’t prepared to carry out.
    death threats: He had received death threats.
    a bomb threat: A bomb threat forced them to make an emergency landing.
    an idle/empty threat (=a threat that is not serious): This isn’t just an idle threat.
    a phone threat: She is charged with making phone threats to her ex-husband.
  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] a situation or an activity that could cause harm or danger
    pose a threat: The dispute poses a direct threat (=is a threat) to peace.
    a threat to freedom/democracy
    threat to: Officials were confident there had been no threat to public health.
    1. a.
      [countable] someone who might defeat you or might cause problems for you
      She is not viewed as a threat by her former employer.
      threat to: He saw the other man as a real threat to his marriage.
    2. b.
      [countable/uncountable] the possibility that something bad is going to happen
      threat of: Constant threat of attack makes everyday life dangerous here.
      The threat of full-scale war has not been averted.
      face a threat: They face the threat of terrorism every day.



a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog