Threaten vs Threatening - What's the difference?

threaten | threatening |

As verbs the difference between threaten and threatening

is that threaten is to make a threat against someone; to use threats while threatening is present participle of lang=en.

As an adjective threatening is

presenting a threat; menacing; frightening.

As a noun threatening is

an act of threatening; a threat.




(en verb)
  • To make a threat against someone; to use threats.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1905, author=
  • , title= , chapter=2 citation , passage=No one, however, would have anything to do with him, as Mr. Keeson's orders in those respects were very strict ; he had often threatened any one of his employés with instant dismissal if he found him in company with one of these touts.}}
    He threatened me with a knife.
  • To menace, or be dangerous.
  • The rocks threatened the ship's survival.
  • To portend, or give a warning of.
  • The black clouds threatened heavy rain.

    Usage notes

    * This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive . See



    Alternative forms

    * threatning (obsolete)


  • Adjective

    (en adjective)
  • Presenting a threat; menacing; frightening.
  • Derived terms

    * life-threatening * nonthreatening, non-threatening * threateningly * threateningness * unthreatening


    (en noun)
  • An act of threatening; a threat.
  • * 1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , Acts IV:
  • And nowe lorde beholde their threatenynges , and graunte unto thy servauntes wyth all confydence to speake thy worde.
  • * Charles Dickens, Pincher Astray
  • The butcher's boy — a fierce and beefy youth, who openly defied the dog, and waved him off with hurlings of his basket and threatenings of his feet, accompanied by growls of "Git out, yer beast!" — now entered silently