portend was our Word of the Day on 02/18/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of portend in a sentence
The distant thunder portended a storm.
If you're superstitious, a black cat portends trouble.
Did You Know?
Portend has been used in English in the context of signs of things to come since the 15th century. The word derives from the Latin verb portendere, which means "to predict or foretell." That verb, in turn, developed as a combination of the prefix por- (meaning "forward") and the verb "tendere" (meaning "to stretch"). So you can think of "portend" as having a literal meaning of "stretching forward to predict." Additional descendants of "tendere" include "extend," "tendon," and "tension," among others.
PORTEND Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of portend for English Language Learners
: to be a sign or warning that something usually bad or unpleasant is going to happen
PORTEND Defined for Kids
Definition of portend for Students
: to give a sign or warning of beforehand Distant thunder portended a storm.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up portend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).