: an occurrence or phenomenon (see phenomenon sense 1) believed to portend a future event : augury
The dark clouds were considered a bad omen.

Examples of omen in a Sentence

They regarded the win as a good omen for the team. omens of things to come
Recent Examples on the Web The animals mostly related to symbols or omens of death are scavengers, nocturnal, or associated with negative events. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2023 The future is obviously unwritten here, but as bad omens go, Songtradr’s reflexive gutting of Bandcamp feels both ominous and infuriating — the latest episode from a chaotic mediascape where moneyed management makes bad decisions, then workers pay with their livelihoods. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 But Boston can’t bank on omens, momentum, and emotion. Christopher L. Gasper, BostonGlobe.com, 29 May 2023 The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches readers about the essential wisdom of listening to their hearts and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path to follow dreams. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Oct. 2023 The outcome will partly depend on how GOP leaders—including Trump’s opponents for the 2024 nomination—will respond, although the omens are not promising given their long see-no-evil history. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 2 Aug. 2023 Even in this moment of pleasure, the omens are dark. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 21 Oct. 2022 After a tense few moments, the Japanese troops left, but the bad omens for the Panay were building up. Brad Lendon, CNN, 26 May 2023 Stargazers of yore tended to perceive supernovae as bad omens, Penprase says, and in today’s climate of misinformation and science denialism, Betelgeuse’s demise could prompt some concerning responses. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 15 May 2023 See More

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

Word History


Latin omin-, omen

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of omen was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near omen

Cite this Entry

“Omen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/omen. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a happening believed to be a sign or warning of some future event

More from Merriam-Webster on omen

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