ominous was our Word of the Day on 03/09/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of ominous in a Sentence
- Not many sets of initials became universally recognizable during the twentieth century, and those that did often had ominous overtones, from SS to KGB. —Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Atlantic, March 2001
- While politicians and multinational corporations extol the virtues of NAFTA … the ominous curtain is already up in a six-mile section at the border crossing at Mexicali … —Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit, 1996
- Fighting against sensations that sought to claim him, he moved nervously and the note in his hand rattled with a dry and ominous whisper. —Richard Wright, Rite of Passage, 1994
- Arranged in two long and ominous rows, the branding irons dangled from the ceiling in the center of the room, suggesting some sort of fence or jail … —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, May 1993
an ominous threat of war
He spoke in ominous tones.
Recent Examples of ominous from the Web
Letting the treaty lapse would send an ominous signal, because every other part of the bilateral arms-control regime left over from the cold war is either dead or crumbling.
The aloes of the title dominate the space which feels like a little oasis in an ominous encroaching desert.
The clip from Arrival, which included loud, ominous tones and whispery dialogue, benefited the most from the soundbar–specifically from its center tweeter, which was designed to amplify dialogue.
Six riders crashed out in the first three laps, and when world championship leader Marc Marquez inexplicably slid out from an ominous looking second place, Lorenzo's victory seemed all but assured.
Today, among the dead in the Promenade Des Alyscamps — also a prestigious Italian cemetery — Gucci models walked down a flaming runway to an ominous drumbeat.
Glenn Avery Breed’s costumes kept the setting neutral, suggesting some mid-20th-century European state; Mr. Baker’s lighting kept the production’s focus both tight and ominous.
Similarly, Freedom Day inspires the hands on Mies Julie's isolated Karoo farm to carouse late into the night, but in a manner that seems singularly ominous.
On the right, an ominous looking jailhouse mug shot.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ominous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Difference Between ominous, portentous, and fateful
Ominous didn't always mean "foreshadowing evil." If you look closely, you can see the "omen" in "ominous," which gave it the original meaning of "presaging events to come" - whether good or bad. It is ultimately derived from the Latin word omen, which is both an ancestor and a synonym of our "omen." Today, however, "ominous" tends to suggest a menacing or threatening aspect. Its synonyms "portentous" and "fateful" are used similarly, but "ominous" is the most menacing of the three. It implies an alarming character that foreshadows evil or disaster. "Portentous" suggests being frighteningly big or impressive, but seldom gives a definite forewarning of calamity. "Fateful" implies that something is of momentous or decisive importance.
black, bleak, cheerless, chill, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dim, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, forlorn, funereal, gloomy, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, saturnine, sepulchral, somber (or sombre), sullen, wretched;
Synonym Discussion of ominous
- ominous rumblings from the volcano
- an eerie and portentous stillness
- the fateful conference that led to war
OMINOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ominous for English Language Learners
: suggesting that something bad is going to happen in the future
OMINOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of ominous for Students
- … the clouds there seemed to be growing darker, massing in ominous grey mounds with a yellowish tinge.
- —Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising
Seen and Heard
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