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
The ominous start to 2017 has continued with few interruptions, inflicting damage on families and neighborhoods across much of New Orleans.
Despite 420’s recent codification as a street moniker for marijuana and the ominous specter of four and twenty blackbirds flocking from pies, April 20 had slipped as an infamous date in the public brainpan.
Almost two decades after Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez, came to power in an electoral landslide, his country’s transformation seems to be taking an ominous new turn.
In another notorious hack to Yahoo in late 1997, cyber bad guys posted an ominous holiday greeting on the site.
Rotator cuff repair sounds – and is – potentially ominous for a quarterback.
Each episode is sandwiched by two sentences over a black screen — an ominous one at the beginning and one at the end that provides the twist.
Ominous, charcoal-colored clouds, however, rolled in during intermission and unleashed large raindrops that whipped sideways in the wind.
A black Islamic State flag strung from the theater facade provided an ominous backdrop for the executions, witnessed by children and other civilians, captured on video and posted on the Internet.
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.
Did You Know?
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.
Synonym Discussion of ominous
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
: considered a sign of evil or trouble to come … 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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