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
Anthony Garcia's shopping list -- from the ordinary to the ominous.
While these clouds may look ominous, these clouds have been low to the ground.
Tensions intensified this week when reports showed executives agonizing over how to downplay the ominous-sounding AI aspects of the contract in the media.
The story feels heavy on explanation, ominous but without much sense of forward momentum, and potentially hard for readers to follow.
The revelations of the Obama era political targeting grow more ominous by the day.
The visual remains fairly dark and ominous, but Musgraves is joyous in love in the lighthearted tune.
But to some key players in the home financing arena, the savings look ominous — potentially risky for taxpayers and financially nightmarish for the professionals who provide the service being eliminated.
From the outside, the main building of this Jackson, Wyoming hotel looks slightly ominous.
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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