fore·​bod·​ing | \(ˌ)fȯr-ˈbō-diŋ \

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 \ adverb
forebodingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for foreboding

Synonyms: Noun

alarm (also alarum), apprehension, apprehensiveness, dread, misgiving

Synonyms: Adjective

baleful, dire, direful, doomy, ill, ill-boding, inauspicious, menacing, minatory, ominous, portentous, sinister, threatening

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of foreboding in a Sentence


She was filled with a sense of foreboding. It seems that her forebodings were justified.


foreboding war clouds began to gather
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anyone who knows anything about the Romanovs should feel a twinge of foreboding. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What's the Story With The Romanoffs Controversial Opening Credits?," 27 Oct. 2018 That foreboding final note holds the key to the future of GLOW, according to co-showrunners Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, "'GLOW' Bosses on "Uncomfortable" Finale and (Likely) Season 3," 4 July 2018 While the census may sound like an Orwellian device, Ball is more concerned with his characters’ emotional lives than with authoritarian foreboding. Alex Gilvarry, New York Times, "A Dying Father, His Son and One Last Road Trip," 25 Apr. 2018 Though the death toll was comparatively lower than others, this one was more complex, more foreboding. Dahleen Glanton,, "No matter what type of gun is used in school shootings, innocent people end up dead," 18 May 2018 The sounds could be heard as flashbacks or as forebodings. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 2018 Morgan was no less foreboding, though his worries about Markle are more general. Ellen Barry, Anchorage Daily News, "‘I’m American. I hug.’ Meghan Markle’s impact on the British monarchy," 19 May 2018 Chancellor asked for prayers through his recovery and offered a foreboding prospect on his future health. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Seahawks' Kam Chancellor makes sobering announcement on social media," 2 July 2018 Indeed, the exterior looks a bit foreboding, but the new hotel is completely modern and welcoming inside, starting with the spacious common areas and popular farm-to-table restaurant, 100 Acres. Amy Thomas, New York Times, "36 Hours in Buffalo," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for foreboding

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foreboding

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of foreboding

: a feeling that something bad is going to happen

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More from Merriam-Webster on foreboding

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foreboding

Spanish Central: Translation of foreboding

Nglish: Translation of foreboding for Spanish Speakers

Comments on foreboding

What made you want to look up foreboding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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