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" We're a lot alike, you and I. You tested me. I tested you. You killed me. I—oh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you yet. Well. Food for thought."
G La DOS, Portal 2 Propulsion Gel trailer (and cut line)

This trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A character threatens to kill another, but without actually using the words "I'll kill you." Usually involves the use of an analogy or a hypothetical question. This often allows the maker of the threat to be a Karma Houdini, since he can claim he never really threatened the target. Often the person making the threat will avoid naming the threatened person directly. If the threat is made against the other person's family or against his property, that's Shame If Something Happened.

Examples of Implied Death Threat include:


  • A more overtly violent example than most in National Security, after Earl pulls over a student driver:

  Earl: Student driver, huh? *pulls out his gun* Lesson 12: Man with gun. Get your ass up out the car.

  • In Ice Age, Soto does this twice to Diego, his second-in-command charged to bring back a baby so he can eat it alive. When Diego loses it over the falls, Soto snarls at him, "You'd better. Or you can serve yourself as a replacement." He even sends an Implied Death Threat by proxy when he sends two of his sabres to warn Diego to bring back the baby or "don't come back at all!" Something that hints at certain death for Diego, since the tigers pretty much use each other to survive, at least in Soto's pack.


 'Come,' called the old man, 'come now or you will be late.'

'Late?' said Arthur. 'What for?'

'What is your name, human?'

'Dent. Arthur Dent,' said Arthur.

'Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent,' said the old man, sternly. 'It's a sort of threat you see... I've never been very good at them myself, but I'm told they can be very effective.'

 A noble blood flows through my veins.

Want it to stay there?

Live Action TV

  • In the Victorious episode "Rex Dies", while Cat is going on about the catwalk:

 Jade: If someone was pushed off this catwalk and hit the ground really hard, do you think they'd live?

Cat: Why are you asking that?

Jade: No reason.

  • In a Season 1 episode of NCIS, when Ari holds Ducky hostage in autopsy.

 Ducky: I can't wait to weigh your liver.

Professional Wrestling

 Paul E. Dangerously: It's not Sting's birthday.

Cactus Jack: I know that. Don't you think I know that? But I wasn't here for Sting's last birthday. I wish I was at Sting's last birthday. But you see it's very important that we celebrate now, because Sting's last birthday was Sting's last birthday!


  • The very first Harry Nile story, "West For My Health", had Harry up to his eyeballs in debt to a mob boss, who agreed to forgive Harry's debt if he went out to the west coast to kill a guy who was threatening his business. Just to make sure Harry didn't try to avoid doing the job, the mob boss sent an associate to watch him. The associate pulled Harry aside and told him, "I'm your doctor. I'm telling you to go west for your health."

Tabletop RPG

  • Chaosium's Stormbringer adventure Stealer of Souls: Tormiel's house has a Demon of Protection that is required to give two warnings before attacking intruders, such as, "Gee, this is an unhealthy place to visit without an invitation," or "Do you know where your blood comes from?" If the intruders ignore his warnings, he's free to kill them.

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy VII, there was a blacksmith in Midgar. If you talked to him, he would say, "Hey, wait a minute, you. You can't leave without buyin' something. Might not be good for your health, if ya know what I'm saying."
  • In Portal 2, when you meet up with GLaDOS again, she says: "Look, we both said a lot of things that you're going to regret." She then continues along this line in later chambers, with her "real surprise, with tragic consequences," her "solution to both our problems [...] that honestly works out great for one of both of us" and her announcement that she has learned to discard things that "are just taking up space". And just when it seems that she couldn't lay it on any thicker, in Chapter 8, Wheatley gets a turn, with a triumphant Don't Explain the Joke thrown in:

 Wheatley: You [...] are going to love this big surprise. In fact, you're going to love it to death. Love it until you're dead -- until it kills you. I don't know if you're picking up on what I'm saying here...

GLaDOS: Thanks, we get it.

 Llednar: ...This reeks of foul play. If you weren't a judge... (summons allies and begins to fight)

Web Original

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