threat

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empty threat

A threat that is devoid of worth or meaning, one that cannot or was never intended to be carried out. The manager is always full of empty threats about docking our pay, but he'll never actually go through with it.
See also: empty, threat

triple threat

A person who is very skilled or knowledgeable in three different but related skills, abilities, or fields. She has degrees in law, business, and socioeconomics, so she'll be a real triple threat for our company. He's a brilliant actor, singer, and dancer—the classic triple threat!
See also: threat, triple

don't make threats you cannot carry out

Don't threaten to do something or punish someone unless you are both willing and able to do it. A: "If they keep grumbling like that, I'll just tell them that their pay will start getting docked." B: "Careful, Jim. You know that half the staff would walk out if you did that, and they know that too. Don't make threats you can't carry out."
See also: cannot, carry, make, out, threat

don't make a threat you cannot carry out

Don't threaten to do something or punish someone unless you are both willing and able to do it. A: "If they keep grumbling like that, I'll just tell them that their pay will start getting docked." B: "Careful, Jim. You know that half the staff would walk out if you did that, and they know that too. Don't make a threat you can't carry out."
See also: cannot, carry, make, out, threat

never make threats you cannot carry out

Don't threaten to do something or punish someone unless you are both willing and able to do it. A: "If they keep grumbling like that, I'll just tell them that their pay will start getting docked." B: "Careful, Jim. You know that half the staff would walk out if you did that, and they know that too. Never make threats you can't carry out."
See also: cannot, carry, make, never, out, threat

never make a threat you cannot carry out

Don't threaten to do something or punish someone unless you are both willing and able to do it. A: "If they keep grumbling like that, I'll just tell them that their pay will start getting docked." B: "Careful, Jim. You know that half the staff would walk out if you did that, and they know that too. Never make a threat you can't carry out."
See also: cannot, carry, make, never, out, threat

give (something) under (the) threat of (something)

To yield something because one has been pressured or coerced to do so. He's one of our best agents—I bet he only gave that classified government information under threat of death. I gave the headmaster the truth about the plagiarism epidemic in our grade under the threat of expulsion.
See also: give, of, threat

going to tell

Ready to inform an authority figure of one's bad behavior. Aw man, she's going to tell Mom what we did.
See also: going, tell

give something under (the) threat of something

to give something only because one is threatened. He gave the money under threat of exposure. I think that is blackmail. You are asked to give your testimony under the threat of being jailed if you don't.
See also: give, of, threat

going to tell

 and going to tattle
a threat that one is going to report someone's misdeed to someone in authority. If you do that again, I'm going to tell! Sue just went to the teacher. She's going to tattle.
See also: going, tell

Never make a threat you cannot carry out.

Prov. You should not threaten to do something you cannot do; otherwise, people will not believe you are serious when you threaten. Bill: If you don't stop being rude to me, I'll have you fired! Jane: You're not my boss. Never make a threat you cannot carry out.
See also: cannot, carry, make, never, out, threat

triple threat

A person who is adept in three areas, as in She's a triple threat on the editorial staff-she can edit, write, and design pages. This term comes from football, where it signifies a player who is good at running, passing, and kicking. [c. 1920] Also see hat trick.
See also: threat, triple

threat or a promise, is that a

Are you giving me bad news or good? According to lexicographer Eric Partridge, this was the soldier’s answer to the vulgar phrase, “Fuck you!” and dates from World War I or even earlier. In civilian language it came to be applied other than sexually, whenever a doubtful proposition was made. Partridge quoted Julian Symons’s A Three Pipe Problem (1975): “‘Goodbye, I advise you to keep out of my way.’ . . . She smelt of cigarette smoke and gin. ‘Next time, Mr. Holmes? Is that a threat or a promise?’”
See also: that, threat