Word of the Day – Minatory

Word of the Day : April 13, 2021


adjective MIN-uh-tor-ee


  • : having a menacing quality

Did you know?

Knowing that minatory means “threatening,” can you take a guess at a related word? If you’re familiar with mythology, perhaps you guessed Minotaur, the name of the bull-headed, people-eating monster of Crete. Minotaur is a good guess, but as terrifying as the monster sounds, its name isn’t related to minatory. The relative we’re searching for is actually menaceMinatory and menace both come from derivatives of the Latin verb minari, which means “to threaten.” Minatory was borrowed directly from Late Latin minatoriusMenace came to English via Anglo-French manacemenace, which came from Latin minac-minax, meaning “threatening.”


“Then the squirrel seemed to notice Vinnie; to turn a minatory black eye toward him. The eye extended out from its head an inch or two on a little silvery stalk and tilted this way and that.” — John Shirley, Crawlers, 2003

“In ‘Wonderland,’ a retired ballerina named Orla Moreau (H.G. Wells-reference alert!) and her husband, a lifelong dilettante named Shaw, move their two young kids from Manhattan to the woods of upstate New York so he can pursue his new passion for painting. An isolated old house in December, some minatory trees in the yard—what could go wrong?” — Bill O’Driscoll, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 Aug. 2020