from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A possible danger; a threat: the menace of nuclear war.
  • n. The act of threatening.
  • n. A troublesome or annoying person: a toddler who was a menace in a shop full of crystal.
  • transitive v. To utter threats against.
  • transitive v. To constitute a threat to; endanger.
  • intransitive v. To make threats.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a perceived threat or danger
  • n. the act of threatening
  • n. an annoying and bothersome person
  • v. to make threats (against someone); to intimidate
  • v. to endanger someone or something; to imperil or jeopardize

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The show of an intention to inflict evil; a threat or threatening; indication of a probable evil or catastrophe to come.
  • intransitive v. To act in threatening manner; to wear a threatening aspect.
  • transitive v. To express or show an intention to inflict, or to hold out a prospect of inflicting, evil or injury upon; to threaten; -- usually followed by with before the harm threatened.
  • transitive v. To threaten, as an evil to be inflicted.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To threaten; hold out a threat against; express a hostile intention toward, or indicate danger to: followed by with before the threatened evil when expressed: as, the storm menaced the ship with destruction.
  • To hold out threats of; indicate the danger or risk of.
  • Synonyms Menace, Threaten. Threaten is of very general application, in both great and little things: as, to be threatened with a cold; a threatening cloud; to threaten an attack along the whole line. Threaten is used with infinitives, especially of action, but menace is not: as, to threaten to come, to punish. Menace belongs to dignified style and matters of moment.
  • To be threatening; indicate danger or coming harm; threaten.
  • n. A threat or threatening; the declaration or indication of a hostile intention, or of a probable evil to come.
  • n. Synonyms See the verb.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pose a threat to; present a danger to
  • v. act in a threatening manner
  • n. a threat or the act of threatening
  • n. something that is a source of danger
  • v. express a threat either by an utterance or a gesture


Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *minācia, sing. of Latin mināciae, threats, menaces, from mināx, mināc-, threatening, from minārī, to threaten, from minae, threats.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested ante 1300: from the Old French manace, menace, from the Latin minācia, from minax ("threatening"), from minor ("I threaten"). (Wiktionary)
First attested in 1303: from the Old French menacer, manecier, manechier and the Anglo-Norman manasser, from the assumed Vulgar Latin *mināciāre, from the Latin minācia, whence the noun. (Wiktionary)



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  • I particularly like menace as a verb.

    February 21, 2007