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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The day was a patchwork of the hopeful and the foreboding. New York Times, 8 May 2022 In Washington, there’s a deep foreboding about the stakes that are so reminiscent of the past. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2022 Overlaying everything, domestic or foreign, is a constant foreboding in the White House over what Trump might do next. Arkansas Online, 16 Jan. 2022 An inescapable north wind joined with the frigid thermometer readings to yield wind chills in the teens, enhancing our meteorological foreboding. Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2022 Musically, the duo did their best to underscore the tension and foreboding of the moment. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 6 Jan. 2022 At the start of yet another year of Covid-19 in our midst, its latest variant rising, there is for many a sense of familiar foreboding. New York Times, 3 Jan. 2022 The split-level set kept the actors in exquisite balance; the sense of tragic foreboding seemed to well up from inside the characters themselves. Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2021 Since then, feelings of fear, anxiety and general foreboding have loomed over the neighborhood. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The massive lineup of military vehicles — sometimes positioned two or three side-by-side on the road, sometimes spaced by several yards — appears both formidable and foreboding. Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2022 Nearly two years have passed since the fifth season of Outlander wrapped, ending on an incredibly solemn and foreboding note. Sharareh Drury, Variety, 6 Mar. 2022 In Kyiv, where Ukrainians had been nervously awaiting Mr. Putin’s decision, the reaction to his speech was one of disgust and foreboding. New York Times, 21 Feb. 2022 The foreboding arrival of the Spacing Guild — descending the Heighliner ramp to deliver a mandate to Leto — sets the stage for director Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious vision. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Mar. 2022 People dressed in black pile up, forming a foreboding cyclone of human bodies. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 8 Mar. 2022 But despite their foreboding appearance, these marine phantoms are harmless, except to plankton. Arkansas Online, 27 Feb. 2022 In the end, the sensation is the same: a foreboding feeling of pervasive, imminent risk. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 26 Feb. 2022 Though how this plays out, given that this is the final season of the main show, and Daryl’s spin-off is with Carol, not Connie, is a little foreboding for her ultimate fate. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of foreboding


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1630, in the meaning defined above

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Foreboding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for foreboding


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

Nglish: Translation of foreboding for Spanish Speakers


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