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THREAT

The expression of an intention to inflict evil or punishment on another, usually made for the purpose of dissuading him from doing, or of influencing him to do, something. A threat can be just or unjust, good or bad, depending upon whether the threatened retaliatory measure is morally justifiable. God threatened His chosen people with calamities if they rejected His Commandments (Lv 26.1443). The sanction normally attached to positive law is, in effect, a threat of punishment to be inflicted upon its transgressors. To threaten punishment may therefore be reasonable and virtuous, and a parent, a teacher, or a custodian of the law, would fail in his duty if he neglected in some circumstances to threaten punishment. prudence, of course, must dictate the norms to be observed in making justifiable threats. To threaten a child with exaggeratedly dire and frightening consequences of misbehavior is imprudent, because the threat can be more damaging than helpful to the child. On the other hand it is bad for the young to be threatened with punishment that is not actually intended.

If one really means to carry out a threat of inflicting unjust harm or injury on another, he is guilty interiorly of the injustice he is determined to commit. Even apart from any real intention to carry out the threat, it is always sinful to threaten harm one may not lawfully inflict, or to threaten to evil purpose, e.g., as in extortion. In these cases a threat is akin to violence or duress and is an unjust attack upon another's freedom, tranquillity, and personal dignity.

Bibliography: thomas aquinas, Summa theologiae, 1a2ae, 6466; 2a2ae, 101, 102, 116. w. r. farrell, Companion to the Summa, 4 v. (New York 193842) 3:331353.

[p. mulhern]

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threat / [unvoicedth]ret/ • n. 1. a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done: members of her family have received death threats. ∎  Law a menace of bodily harm, such as may restrain a person's freedom of action. 2. a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger: hurricane damage poses a major threat to many coastal communities. ∎  [in sing.] the possibility of trouble, danger, or ruin: the company faces the threat of bankruptcy | thousands of railroad jobs came under threat.

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threat Any action intended to breach the security of information stored in a system by (a) gaining unauthorized access to that information usually without alerting the authorized user, (b) denial of service to the authorized user, (c) spoofing, which aims to confuse by introducing false information, usually as to the identity of the user. Some threats are with premeditated malicious intent but others are opportunistic, e.g. browsing, or occur during a crash. See also vulnerability.

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threat, 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 assault, 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 blackmail and extortion), 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 duress) is invalid and may be set aside.

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threat †throng, troop; †oppression, affliction OE.; denunciation of evil to come (?OE.) XI. OE. þrēat m., cogn. with ON. þraut fem. struggle, labour, f. Gmc. *þraut- *þreut- *þrut-, base of OE. þrēatian (see below), þrēotan trouble, Du. verdrieten, weary, OHG. irdrioʒan vex (G. verdriessen) Goth. usþriutan trouble.
So vb. (arch. or dial.) OE. þrēatian, superseded by threaten (-EN5) †press, urge OE.; utter threats against XIII; be ominous (of) XVII. OE. þrēatnian.

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threat A form of communication by which an animal may keep rivals or potentially dangerous animals of other species at bay without fighting.

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threat A form of communication by which an animal may keep rivals or potentially dangerous animals of other species at bay without fighting.

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Threat ★★½ 1949

A killer escapes from jail and returns to settle the score with those who convicted him. Tense, fastmoving thriller. 66m/B VHS . Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw; D: Felix Feist.

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Threat

a crowd; a multitude of people; a group of men in an attacking mood. See also throng.

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