Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More

February 18, 2013

Word of the Day

  • portend
  • audio pronunciation
  • \por-TEND\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
: to give an omen or anticipatory sign of
2
: indicate, signify
  • EXAMPLES

In the short story, the appearance of a black cat portends danger for the protagonist.

"These changes portend better possibilities for American manufacturers and American job growth…." — From an article by James Fallows in The Atlantic, November 28, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Portend" has been used in English in the context of signs of things to come since the 15th century. The word derives from the Latin verb "portendere," which means "to predict or foretell." That verb, in turn, developed as a combination of the prefix "por-" (meaning "forward") and the verb "tendere" (meaning "to stretch"). So you can think of "portend" as having a literal meaning of "stretching forward to predict." Additional descendants of "tendere" include "extend," "tendon," and "tension," among others.

Test Your Vocabulary: What is the meaning of "augury"? The answer is ...

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE
  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account