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, 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

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 But as the Trump-Putin summit approaches, scheduled unsettlingly close to the periodic NATO summit which has long held pride of place on the American security calendar, Ukrainians are feeling a familiar sense of foreboding. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 Or is the point here to simply marvel at the general sense of fatal foreboding that seems to be in the very soil of Castle Rock?, "Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 Another is the relentlessly foreboding, throbbing score by Hildur Gudnadottir. Taylor Sheridan, New York Times, "Review: ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ Blends War Movie and Western," 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

21 Sep 2018

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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

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