What would you associate with ‘a threatening’? Clouds? Storms? Thugs loitering on street corners, or skulking in doorways and dark alleys?

No, apparently it is the collective noun for ‘courtiers’.

Which could explain the 3,000+ year existence of court jesters, to provide the king or emperor with a little light diversion and a lot of serious insulation from the machinations of courtiers.   

For more on this latter point, see: www.foolsareeverywhere.com

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