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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from foreboding


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

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Employees on their way into the building described an office that had been dominated by a sense of foreboding. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Deutsche Bank Layoffs Begin as Workers Feel Turnaround Plan’s Impact First," 8 July 2019 Employees described an office that had been dominated by a sense of foreboding. Jack Ewing,, "Deutsche Bank layoffs begin as turnaround plan kicks in," 8 July 2019 But with the excitement came a sense of foreboding. Washington Post, "Doctor says Virginia Beach shooting tested emergency room," 6 July 2019 There might be an ominous display of mammatus clouds, the iconic pouch-like bags that hang beneath foreboding storms that usually are a sign of turbulence in the atmosphere. Matthew Cappucci, Anchorage Daily News, "This North Pacific volcano just erupted after nearly a century of silence. Astronauts captured the breathtaking scene.," 27 June 2019 Despite all of Nadia’s foreboding and dark humor—the occasional cosmic absurdity of the story that hints at a deeper scheme—Russian Doll hedges. The New York Review of Books, "Daniel Drake," 25 Apr. 2019 Yet this valley has remained largely hidden, cloistered inside the foreboding, snowcapped Rhaetian Alps, unknown even to many native Italians. Christopher Ross, WSJ, "The Hidden Valley in the Italian Alps Where Winemakers Are Working Against Nature," 15 Feb. 2019 Well, that’s certainly a foreboding vision for what’s to come in the next season of Riverdale. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "The “Riverdale” Season 3 Finale Finally Revealed Who Is Under the Gargoyle King Mask," 16 May 2019 While humanity hasn't had dragons to help breach a foreboding keep, it's gotten pretty good at the art of the siege. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of foreboding


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1630, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foreboding

Dictionary Entries near foreboding








Statistics for foreboding

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foreboding

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!