Anything that's threatening is ominous, or scary on purpose. A bully's deep, threatening voice might frighten other children in the neighborhood.

Threatening things are done in a way that expresses an intention to hurt someone. A threatening letter from your neighbor might warn of his plan to call the police if you play your music too loudly. Another neighbor angrily shaking a fist in the direction of your barking dog is threatening too. Unintentionally threatening things include looming storm clouds and terrifying waves crashing onto the beach after a hurricane.

Definitions of threatening

adj threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

“his threatening behavior”
baleful, forbidding, menacing, minacious, minatory, ominous, sinister
frightening because of an awareness of danger

adj darkened by clouds

heavy, lowering, sullen
full of or covered with clouds

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.