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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Red Sox 7, Angels 6 ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the innings dragged on in familiar fashion, as Southern California twilight transformed into darkness, a sense of foreboding loomed in the cooling night air. Alex Speier,, "Mookie Betts homers in first, 15th innings as Red Sox outlast Angels," 31 Aug. 2019 Both are worth at least a few hours of exploration; a walk along the top of La Muralla (the ramparts) comes with terrific views out across the foreboding Atlantic. David Jefferys, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Spend 72 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico," 6 Aug. 2019 Any story about a girl in the woods is replete with foreboding. Maria Garcia,, "Review: Zombies are the threat in the dark fairy tale ‘Endzeit — Ever After’," 25 June 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 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 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 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 Ms Collett compares it to the muggy period before a thunderstorm, when the squirrels have scarpered and the air is pregnant with foreboding of trouble ahead. The Economist, "Europe’s passport-free zone faces a grim future," 21 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

7 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce foreboding (audio) \

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).


recurring in steady succession

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