Is That a Threat?

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

When threatened, a character responds with, "Is that a threat?" or "Are you threatening me?" regardless of how poorly veiled the actual threat was. Stock answers include, "No, it's a fact", "No, it's a promise" and "Yes." A common variation is having the character asking "is that a threat or a promise?", and its usually used as a form of Insult Backfire, when the threatened thing wouldn't inconvenience them, or even benefit them.

Compare Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word

Examples of Is That a Threat? include:

"Are you threatening me?"

Lo Po Bia Ren:If King Zahard were to find out about this… I can't imagine how disappointed he would be…
Ha Yuri Zahard: Oy, RED newbie, are you threatening me right now?
Lo Po Bia Re: Th- Threaten? Of course not. I'm simply worry about the future of Zahard…
Ha Yuri Zahard: Ah, really? Everything seems to be solved for you when you just add Zahard's name. That's really convenient! Using Zahard's name to threaten one of Zahard's Princesses… you must be out of your mind.
Know this, the strength of Zahard isn't the kind that can be called upon so conveniently. Though, there's no need bothering to explain this to somebody who just uses Zahard's name as he pleases… Get out of here or I will kill you!

William Parrish: You're at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong woman!
Joe Black: Are you threatening me?
William Parrish: Yeah, I certainly hope so.

The Duke of Norfolk: Aaahh, he won't attend the wedding.
Cromwell: If I were you, I'd try and persuade him. I really would try... if I were you.
The Duke of Norfolk: Cromwell, are you threatening me?
Cromwell: My dear Norfolk... this isn't Spain. This is England.

The Doctor: Seeding a level five planet is against galactic law.
Matron Cofelia: Are you threatening me?
The Doctor: I am trying to help you, matron. This is your one chance.

Bordinan: Are you threatening me?
Carder: Come come Bordinan, we're both adults here...of course I'm threatening you.

Agt. Jason Farrell: Are you threatening me, Agent Malone?
Jack Malone: You take it any way you want!

Harry Pearce: Are you threatening me?
Tessa Phillips: You threatened me from way up there on your moral high ground. You hypocritical arsehole.

(Porter has just threatened to kill Carter while talking to Bronson on the phone)
Bronson: Are you threatening me?
Porter: I'm not threatening you, I'm threatening Carter.

Pete Turner: Are you threatening me? Is that a threat?
Scott Carpenter: No, that's a promise.

Mace Windu: In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you're under arrest, Chancellor.
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine: Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?
Mace Windu: The senate will decide your fate.
Palpatine: I am the Senate.

Ratchet: Omega Supreme is one of us. An Autobot. A friend. Harm one circuit on him and you'll asnwer to me.
Sentinel Prime: Are you threatening me? That's treason, soldier! Arrest him!

Lawyer: Are you threatening my client?
Rachel Dawes: No, I'm just assuming his cooperation with this investigation.

J. K. Robertson: Are you threatening me?
Nick: No, I'm telling you!

Diego: (The group has found a shortcut under a dangerous-looking cliff, which Sid is hesitant to enter) Then I suggest you take the shortcut.
Sid: Are you threatening me?
Diego: MOVE, SLOTH! (avalanche starts)
Sid: (Patting Diego) Way to go, tiger!

Witness: Are you threatening me?
Lennie Briscoe: You catch on pretty fast!

    • Another example:

Ron Drexler: Is that a threat?
Det. Fontana: A threat? No. A threat would be more like... "If you stonewall this investigation any more I'm gonna break your jaw. And when you're on the ground, I'm gonna kick you 'till you spit blood you cheap shyster." That would be a threat. This is more of a request.

Uncle Vernon: Are you threatening me, sir?
Mad-Eye Moody: (pleased Vernon's caught on so quickly) Yes, I am.
Vernon: And do I look like the kind of man who can be intimidated?
Moody: Well...(reveals his magical eye, making Vernon jump backwards into a luggage trolley) Yes, I'd have to say you do, Dursley.

Ethan's psychiatrist: Are you threatening me?
Lt. Carter Blake: I'm just giving you some free advice, doctor. I suggest you take it.

  • A variation from an episode of of the sitcom Taxi; Louie has enraged Alex to the point that Alex has ripped the front off of Louie's dispatcher cage and bodily dragged him forth:

Louie: Are you threatening me with physical violence?
Alex: [growls]
Louie: I'm not sayin' it won't work! I'm just askin'!

"Is that a threat?"

  • Rules Of Engagement:

Sokal: Is that a threat?
Colonel Hodges: Oh yes sir.

Charlie: Is that a threat?
Jake: No, it's a promise.
Charlie: What's the difference?
Jake: I don't know-- one's a threat and one's a promise.

Dewey: Is that a threat, Detective?
Detective Kincaid: When it's a threat, you'll know it.
Dewey: Is that a threat?

Prince Derek: Don't let her die!
Rothbart: Is that a threat?
Prince Derek: Don't you dare let her die!
Rothbart: Oh, it is a threat.

Malfoy: My father will hear about this!
Professor Moody:' Is that a threat? Is that a threat?! Is that a threat?!
(Malfoy flees)

Rebecca: Is that a threat, Peee-lar?
Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald: No. I don't make threats. I make promises.

  • Club Dread:

Juan: Yu and Hank are dead!
Coconut Pete: ...What did we do?
Juan: No! Yu and Hank are fucking dead!
Coconut Pete: Is that a threat?

Aiden: Is that a threat?
Rafe: No... (headbutts him) This is a threat!

Carla: I'll show you what it's like to be in my school.
Lola: Is that a threat?
Carla: Absolutely!

  • The 1970 horror flick Torture Dungeon:

Ivan: I'd like to break you neck.
Rosemary: Not if I break yours first.
Ivan: Is that a threat?
Rosemary: Take it anyway you like it!
Ivan: I usually do!

George: Try and I'll beat you at your own game.
Martha: Is that a threat George, huh?
George: It's a threat, Martha.

Dr. Dolittle: (talking to an animal) You're an endangered species!
Archie: Is that a threat, buddy?

Mrs Grober: And despite what you are saying, if I don't have Michael Corben by the end of this week, she is going to be one very unhappy lady!
Haywood: Is that a threat, Mrs. Grober?
Mrs Grober: French teachers do not threaten, Monsieur. They say, "S'il vous plait."

First Minister Dreylock: Need I remind you that the stargate is in our possession?
Tarthus: For the moment.
First Minister Dreylock:Is that a threat?
Tarthus: It's an assurance that when it comes to the survival of our people, we will do whatever is necessary.

Vaughn Leland: IT WAS CROOKED! And I believe you knew that! You'll regret this!
J R: Is that a threat Vaughn?
Vaughn Leland: A promise!

Kohlar: It is possible that the sacred scrolls were scrolled by a madman in a cave. Or perhaps they really *were* divinely inspired. Either way, they've guided us for over a century. If my people start to believe that the sacred scrolls have led them astray, there may be violence.
Captain Kathryn Janeway: Is that a threat?
Kohlar: Merely a fact. You're doing everything you can to get your people home, Captain. That's all I'm doing for mine.

Lister: Okay Rimmer, Okay.
Rimmer: Is that a threat Lister?
Lister: Yeah.
Rimmer: Actually, "okay" is not a threat, technically speaking.
Lister: It is when you're meaning it to mean what I'm meaning it to mean, and I'm meaning it to mean okay, Rimmer, O-kaaaay!
Rimmer: Lister, "okay" is never a threat, no matter how many "aaaay"s you put on the end of it.

Tony: What's that, a threat?
Carmela: No Tony, it's a rave review!

Mufasa: Is that a challenge?

Skipper: I've seen Red around a lot lately. Next time, it might be a tuft of her fur that's left beside a dead Twoleg pet.
Stick: Leave Red out of this. And don't make threats you can't keep.
Misha: Oh, they're not threats. They're promises.

"Is that a threat or a promise?"

Frank: Listen to me, you do this April, you do this and I swear to god...
April: What? You'll leave me? Is that a threat or a promise?

Zack: What are you doing here?
Maddie: Saving your butt before I kick it!
Zack: Is that a threat or a promise?