fore·​bod·​ing | \ (ˌ)fȯr-ˈbō-diŋ How to pronounce foreboding (audio) \

Definition of foreboding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of one who forebodes also : an omen, prediction, or presentiment especially of coming evil : portent It seems that her forebodings were justified.



Definition of foreboding (Entry 2 of 2)

: indicative of or marked by foreboding

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Other Words from foreboding


forebodingly \ (ˌ)fȯr-​ˈbō-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce foreboding (audio) \ adverb
forebodingness noun

Examples of foreboding in a Sentence

Noun She was filled with a sense of foreboding. It seems that her forebodings were justified. Adjective foreboding war clouds began to gather
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These works also give us an emotional registry of the feelings — smallness, sublimity, foreboding, tranquillity — that snow evokes. New York Times, "What It Means to Look at Paintings of Snow," 19 Jan. 2021 My foreboding is not diminished by reading in that Journal report about an investor (who has — good for him — done well in the market). Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Dow 30,000, Yellen 2021 (Warnings Apply)," 24 Nov. 2020 Already facing a resurgent virus and the growing toll of a pandemic economy, Americans are now looking with grim foreboding at the months ahead. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Voters Dread Election: ‘It’s Going to Be Hell No Matter What’," 6 Oct. 2020 But this was just a foreboding of what was to come in 1854. Gordon S. Wood, WSJ, "‘Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times’ Review: Unruly Genius," 25 Sep. 2020 But every so often, that anniversary also arrives as a new storm churns in the Gulf, turning memories into deep foreboding. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer,, "As Katrina anniversary looms, threat of next big hurricane tests Louisiana's nerves," 24 Aug. 2020 Most of the foreboding black lines were stacked like checkers around the pump. Deirdre Mask, Time, "How the ‘Father of Epidemiology’ Made the Connection Between Disease and Geography," 14 Apr. 2020 But there was no denying that the lighting down there was a foreboding red. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "The museum that defines the Instagram age wants visitors to ditch their phones," 21 Jan. 2020 Each of these connections unfolds with a sense of uncanny foreboding, like the feeling of walking down a dark hallway without a sliver of light. Los Angeles Times, "Technology, cute and horrific, in Samanta Schweblin’s latest modern nightmare," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But the foreboding lighthouse of Shutter Island and the macabre, labyrinthine hospital of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest pale in comparison with both movies’ animating horrors: the wretched treatment of the people trapped within. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "When Cruelty Is Disguised as Care Work," 24 Feb. 2021 The result is a tragic story with a foreboding sense of despair along with a streak of dark humor running through it. cleveland, "Russo brothers come home, team up with sister to make ‘Cherry,’ their most personal film yet," 21 Feb. 2021 This teaser is extremely foreboding for those who are aware that the Russo brothers’ source material is a 2018 novel by Nico Walker about a young soldier suffering from PTSD who develops an opioid addiction. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Watch the Teaser for Cherry, the Tom Holland Movie With the Weird Poster," 10 Jan. 2021 Here, as with Homer’s painting, the foreboding conflict with nature itself, not with other humans, ties their work together in an examination of possible terror erupting out of nowhere. John Zotos, Dallas News, "‘Mythmakers’ at the Amon Carter Museum takes a critical look at two icons of American art," 4 Feb. 2021 Rei Kawakubo and Olivier Theyskens each offered a foreboding vision, and Jun Takahashi imagined several fantasy worlds, some more ghoulish than others. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Rick Owens, Prada, Maison Margiela, and More Fashion Brands Leaned into Horror This Season," 16 Jan. 2021 Another foreboding sign is how bad conditions are across the country. Whet Moser, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic’s Final Surge Will Be Brutal," 7 Dec. 2020 Performed in a cavernous industrial warehouse that's perfect for Halloween, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra presents an atmospheric, all string program that captures the foreboding mystery and menace of the black and white Film Noir genre. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Top 5 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: Oct. 30-Nov. 1," 28 Oct. 2020 The move to sell water futures in California stands as a foreboding indicator of the transformation of water from basic right into a luxury good. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Wall Street Vultures Are Ready to Get Rich From Water Scarcity," 9 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foreboding.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of foreboding


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1630, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for foreboding

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The first known use of foreboding was in the 14th century

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Statistics for foreboding

Last Updated

5 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foreboding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for foreboding



English Language Learners Definition of foreboding

: a feeling that something bad is going to happen


fore·​bod·​ing | \ fȯr-ˈbō-diŋ How to pronounce foreboding (audio) \

Kids Definition of foreboding

: a feeling that something bad is going to happen

More from Merriam-Webster on foreboding

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foreboding

Nglish: Translation of foreboding for Spanish Speakers

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