(redirected from threaten)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms.


in law, declaration of intent to injure another by doing an unlawful act, with a view to restraining his freedom of action. A threat is distinguishable from an assaultassault,
in law, an attempt or threat, going beyond mere words, to use violence, with the intent and the apparent ability to do harm to another. If violent contact actually occurs, the offense of battery has been committed; modern criminal statutes often combine assault and
..... Click the link for more information.
, for an assault requires some physical act that appears likely to eventuate in violence, whereas a threat may consist of words only or an act that is not violent, e.g., unlawful prosecution. Threats made to obtain money or property wrongfully are crimes (see blackmailblackmail,
in law, exaction of money from another by threat of exposure of criminal action or of disreputable conduct. The term was originally used for the tribute levied until the 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and extortionextortion,
in law, unlawful demanding or receiving by an officer, in his official capacity, of any property or money not legally due to him. Examples include requesting and accepting fees in excess of those allowed to him by statute or arresting a person and, with corrupt
..... Click the link for more information.
), and under some statutes, the mere sending of nonextortionate letters that announce an intent to injure the person or property of another is criminal. Any contract concluded while one party is deprived of his freedom of will by a threat (see duressduress
, in law, actual or threatened violence or imprisonment, by reason of which a person is forced to enter into an agreement or to perform some other act against his will.
..... Click the link for more information.
) is invalid and may be set aside.



in criminal law, the intent to inflict physical, material, or other harm on an individual or on the interests of society. A threat may be expressed verbally, in writing, by action, or in some other manner. In Soviet criminal law, a threat, as a general rule, is not punishable, but its most dangerous forms are considered to constitute specific corpus delicti. Article 193 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR states the most serious forms to be a threat of homicide, of the infliction of grave bodily injury, or of the destruction of property by arson or a threat against an official or a public worker with the purpose of terminating official or social activity or of changing its character.

In the majority of cases, a threat is a constituent factor of a specific crime and a means of its commission, for instance, in the case of robbery or rape, and is used mainly to overcome the resistance of the victim. Certain types of threat are considered by law as circumstances proving the increased menace of the criminal. The criminal’s actions are consequently considered to have been committed under aggravating circumstances and entail increased punishment. For instance, rape committed with a threat of murder or infliction of grave bodily injury is punished by deprivation of freedom for a term of five to ten years.

The commission of a crime under threat is considered to be an extenuating circumstance. [26–1386–1 ]

What does it mean when you dream about threatening someone?

Someone who dreams of threatening another in a dream may need to assert himself or herself in some area. If, however, the dreamer is being threatened, the dream may mean that some internal fear of inadequacy needs to be addressed.


(computer science)
An event that can cause harm to computers, to their data or programs, or to computations.


The danger of an attack on a computer system. See threat management, blended threat and risk assessment.
References in periodicals archive ?
to threaten the claimantsEoACA* but I did not encourage him to impersonate police personnel when he phoned M.
No, I didn't threaten him a and I didn't curse him," A.