Here's my whiteboard for today. We were discussing the word 'Intimidate' and how to use it.

The other day on my English writing class, I was discussing a story of one of my students experiences.

In this story, my student was trying to tell me that one of his colleagues at work, was quite unhelpful with the junior members of the team because they felt much more senior, and they were older.

In Thailand, were I currently am, seniority is a very important cultural norm. Where those people who are perhaps younger or more junior in a work team have to show respect to senior members of the team or older people. 

My student was trying to tel me that his colleague felt just like this, where they were very unhelpful, or it appeared to be very unhelpful to a discussion about a plan they were trying to make. The colleague didn't contribute much to the discussion but after the meeting, the colleague came and spoke with my student and offered her opinion.

My student was trying to thell me that his colleague felt really uneasy and unfomfortable when there were more senior members of staff around and this is where we started to use the word 'Intimidate'.

We use verb 'Intimidate' to show that someone doesn't feel good when other person is around. Maybe the other person is more senior, as I have mentioned, but also we can use it when you feel that you can not say something or do something or maybe even you are forced to do something as the other other person is maybe threatening you are you feel threatened in some way. Either through word or physically.

So we can use it like this as a direct verb:

  • I intimdated him into doing his homework. I told him he would fail if it wasn't completed on time.

Intimidated used this way can be very negative and aggressive so we have to be careful, Normally we use it  when we feel it or when someone does it to us. So we would use it as a kind of adjective or in the passive voice. As an example:

  • I was really intimiated by the way he spoke to me. I didn't feel at all comfortable.
  • I felt really intimidated by their threats of if it wasn't completed on time.

and the example sentence from the whiteboard:

  • I think she felt a little intimidated by some of her colleagues and this is why she was quiet in the meeting and didn't offer her opinion. She seemed scared they may not take her seriously or laugh at her and lose respect in front of her juniors. 

We can use the various forms of Intimidate like this:


  • We had to use some intimidation to finally get the other person to do it.
  • If I use a little initimidation tactics, I think we can get our way.

Hope you found this useful, let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or questions and Ill be only to happy to answer.

Ajarn Ken

english teacher and esl expert ajarn ken intimidate
INTIMIDATEEnglish Useful Words


we use to show a feeling of being uncomfortable or awkward or uneasy with someone or something that usually stops us from saying or doing what we want to do. Sometimes it is used to show make people do something against their wishes.

Useful Vocabulary

Seniority - Someone who is higher in social status through age or level at work or profession etc

Contribute - When everyone gives their effort or work or something to a joint result together

Threatened - To make someone do/not do something usually with the force of something bad happening to them if they do the opposite.

Aggressive - To use words or actions - usually through Intimidation - to make try and make someone feel scared.

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