ominous was our Word of the Day on 03/09/2017. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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
Macron’s remarks were an ominous sign for Tillerson’s efforts because proponents of toughening the deal had pointed to France as the country least satisfied with the accord when it was reached and most likely to get on board for changes.
In one of many ominous signs, census figures show that more residents are using wood to heat their homes.
Gone are the days of the market’s rise being an ominous sign.
While still far away, storm bands were already starting to reach South Florida, with squally rains and wind blowing over Miami, an ominous sign of the storm’s ferocious power.
The outlook for Bloom (38) or and T.F. South (37), each with five wins, is a little more ominous.
When Hopper got into that very ominous black car at the end of Season 1, fans took note.
Long’s case is part of an ominous outbreak that began in China and could, according to experts in Asia and the United States, evolve into a pandemic.
The intellectual winds blowing in Idaho are 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.
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
OMINOUS Defined for English Language Learners
OMINOUS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up ominous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).