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fore·​bod·​ing (ˌ)fȯr-ˈbō-diŋ How to pronounce foreboding (audio)
: the act of one who forebodes
also : an omen, prediction, or presentiment especially of coming evil : portent
It seems that her forebodings were justified.


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: indicative of or marked by foreboding
forebodingly 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 clouds began to gather
Recent Examples on the Web
That line has lost none of its mystery, its austerity, its elegant foreboding. John Wray, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2023 Fruit started rotting, fish got tangled in seaweed, and a sense of foreboding set the whole premise of an exotic paradise on its edge. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2023 The show comes as a welcome reprieve from the atmosphere of foreboding that has seeped into many aspects of daily life and that has left Americans Lee’s age and younger feeling dejected and fearful. Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times, 17 July 2023 This time, a sense of helplessness, anxiety and foreboding hangs in the air. Lance Morrow, WSJ, 29 June 2023 The Barriers to War Susan Thornton John Mearsheimer’s article engenders a sense of foreboding and doom. G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs, 11 Feb. 2022 The election of Donald Trump — who had promised to appoint conservative judges and whose vice president, Mike Pence, had opposed gay rights and was seen as supporting conversion therapy — had ignited a sense of foreboding and uncertainty within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Kurt Streeter Mason Trinca, New York Times, 5 May 2023 Viewed in hindsight, these anecdotes conjure empathy and foreboding. Courtney Howard, Variety, 15 May 2023 The fires seemed to make eerily visible the exponential rate of spread, the geographic range, the costs, and the breakdown of social life wrought by Covid-19. Plumes that twisted like serpents and thickened into palls like oil slicks gave physical expression to a malaise of gloom and foreboding. Stephen Pyne, WSJ, 12 Dec. 2020
The pause serves as a foreboding warning in an otherwise deceptively melodic song. Jessica Gentile, Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023 The blue app with the cheery white bird became a foreboding black square with a white letter X. The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Aug. 2023 Shooting locations ranged from the quaint village of Malahide north of the city to the Forty Foot, a cliffside ocean swimming spot on the southern tip of Dublin Bay which, for centuries, was for men only, painting a picture that is simultaneously intimate, expansive and foreboding. Todd Longwell, Variety, 19 Aug. 2023 Three days after Thomas' parents reported their teenage daughter missing, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) released a foreboding statement. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 18 Aug. 2023 Meanwhile, foreboding interludes trace the backstory of Perseus, the hero who will eventually kill Medusa — asleep and pregnant, Stheno informs us in the novel’s opening pages. Wendy Smith,, 10 Aug. 2023 The film goes on to explore all that is seen and unseen, a mystical and foreboding look at death and the rich possibilities of the afterlife. Holly Jones, Variety, 5 Aug. 2023 The omnipresent smog cloud, which enveloped most of America, seemed to be a foreboding warning of all the aforementioned disasters—and what else might be next. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 14 July 2023 The first foreboding signs came when it was revealed that Ocean’s set wouldn’t be live-streamed on the official Coachella YouTube channel. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foreboding.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1630, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near foreboding

Cite this Entry

“Foreboding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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