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In the sense of a direct threat like "If you do X, I will beat you", which is a threat with a promise that is clear. One would say a threat was "issued".

If something can be issued, it can be revoked/withdrawn/rescinded. If the second person does X and the first person does not act on their promise, one would say "the threat was withdrawn". And that is clear to me.

If the promise is carried out, that means the threat is no longer valid (maybe a new threat would need to be issued for future occurances of the same situation). so, my question is, what happened to the threat, has it been revoked/withdrawn/rescinded? Those choices don't make any sense to me.

Maybe I'm thinking about it all wrong. English is my second language.

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2 Answers 2

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The best term for this purpose can be found within the question itself: the threat has been carried out.

The terms such as revoke, withdraw or rescind are indeed all inappropriate in this scenario. They are appropriate only if the threatener changes his mind before the time for the other person's doing X, and communicates that to the other person, so that when that time comes, the person is no longer under threat.

Incidentally, it is odd to use the word promise for a threat. A promise is normally something that is to the benefit of the promisee.

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  • I think carried out makes the best sense to me so far. I think a threat comes with two things, a warning and a promise (implied or stated). I realised both have to stated in order for a threat to be formarlly issued. I suppose, one could say its a consequence and not a "promise" Side note:Your answer made me also think of executed.
    – peterpie
    May 23, 2020 at 21:51
  • Yes, to execute the threat may also work. There is a slight possibility that some people will understand this to mean to make (issue) the threat, but most people, in most contexts will probably understand it to mean to carry out the threat.
    – jsw29
    May 23, 2020 at 23:26
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Let's say Person B tells Person A "If you do X, I will beat you."

In the case that Person A does X, and Person B proceeds to beat them as per the threat, you would say that Person B has "followed through with" or "delivered on" their threat.

As a side-note, it is not necessarily true that the threat no longer applies once it has been delivered on. That depends on the context in which the threat was issued.

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  • 'followed through with` or delivered on sounds correct but, for me, it hides that the threat was "issued". I don't know how to express it but there is loss of formality there that I can't put my finger on. I'm inclined to go with carried out by @jsw29 because I feel like it retains that formality.
    – peterpie
    May 23, 2020 at 21:48
  • The way I see it, it's impossible to deliver on or follow through with something if you haven't previously said you were going to do it.
    – user770884
    May 23, 2020 at 21:51
  • I understand that what you are saying is correct but in the sense of "what happened to the threat", I'd say I'm looking for the state that the threat is now in (hope I'm making sense), so one would expect a response in the form "it has been...". That's why carried out, executed and delivered on seem like the correct answers, in order from most fitting to least fitting. I'm not too sure myself, since seeing these answers is opening my mind to alternatives that I hadn't thought of myself
    – peterpie
    May 23, 2020 at 22:08

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