portend

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verb por·tend \pȯr-ˈtend\

Definition of portend

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to give an omen or anticipatory sign of

  3. 2 :  indicate, signify

portend was our Word of the Day on 02/18/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of portend in a sentence

  1. The distant thunder portended a storm.

  2. 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.

Origin and Etymology of portend

Middle English, from Latin portendere, from por- forward (akin to per through) + tendere to stretch — more at for, thin


First Known Use: 15th century


PORTEND Defined for English Language Learners

portend

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verb por·tend \pȯr-ˈtend\

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

portend

play
verb por·tend \pȯr-ˈtend\

Definition of portend for Students

portended

;

portending

  1. :  to give a sign or warning of beforehand Distant thunder portended a storm.



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