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
That’s an extremely ominous sign for football’s future.
But Cove’s tweet about disease transmission also underscores the much more ominous way these pictures can be read.
Today, the much larger and rapidly growing Muslim population of Austria sees their country again setting the tone in Europe — but this time in a far more ominous direction.
But the impact is unmistakable; a quiet rumbling, an ominous chord, a gentle tingling sound.
To make the preview even more ominous, Cersei lets out a breath that's visible in the air, which means that the temperatures are already wintry cold in sunny King's Landing.
Especially in its ominous and oddly lovely opening minutes, Espinosa and the brilliant cinematographer Seamus McGarvey give the film a stately, haunting mien, Jon Ekstrand’s lush and bombastic score setting the stage for something big.
The book was at least 18 months in the works, but it has been published at an ominous moment, as three back-to-back extreme hurricanes -- Harvey, Irma and Maria -- swept across the Caribbean and the southern United States.
Its ominous opening chords suggest a mood akin to a horror movie; Fassbender was told to model his character on Paradise Lost’s Satan.
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.
Synonymsbaleful, dire, direful, doomy, foreboding, ill, ill-boding, inauspicious, menacing, minatory, portentous, sinister, threatening
Related Wordsblack, bleak, cheerless, chill, Cimmerian, cloudy, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dim, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, dreich [chiefly Scottish], elegiac (also elegiacal), forlorn, funereal, gloomy, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, plutonian, saturnine, sepulchral, somber (or sombre), sullen, sunless, tenebrific, tenebrous, wretched; discouraging, disheartening, hopeless, unfavorable, unpromising, unpropitious; ill-fated, ill-starred, star-crossed, troubled, unfortunate, unlucky; evil, malign, malignant
Near Antonymsauspicious, benign, bright, encouraging, favorable, golden, heartening, hopeful, promising, propitious, prosperous
Synonym Discussion of ominous
- ominous rumblings from the volcano
- an eerie and portentous stillness
- the fateful conference that led to war
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