portentous

play
adjective por·ten·tous \pȯr-ˈten-təs\

Definition of portentous

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or constituting a portent <suspense, portentous foreshadowing, hints of sinister and violent mysteries — Francine Prose>

  2. 2 :  eliciting amazement or wonder :  prodigious

  3. 3 a :  being a grave or serious matter <portentous decisions> b :  self-consciously solemn or important :  pompous <portentous declamation unsalted by the least trace of humor — W. H. Pritchard> c :  ponderously excessive <that discipline's overwrought, portentous phrases — R. M. Coles>

portentously

adverb

portentousness

noun

Examples of portentous in a sentence

  1. <an eerie and portentous stillness hung over the camp the night before the battle>

  2. <in 1969 people regarded the first landing on the moon as a truly portentous event>

15th Century

First Known Use of portentous

15th century

Synonym Discussion of portentous

ominous, portentous, fateful mean having a menacing or threatening aspect. ominous implies having a menacing, alarming character foreshadowing evil or disaster <ominous rumblings from the volcano>. portentous suggests being frighteningly big or impressive but now seldom definitely connotes forewarning of calamity <an eerie and portentous stillness>. fateful suggests being of momentous or decisive importance <the fateful conference that led to war>.

PORTENTOUS Defined for English Language Learners

portentous

play
adjective por·ten·tous \pȯr-ˈten-təs\

Definition of portentous for English Language Learners

  • : giving a sign or warning that something usually bad or unpleasant is going to happen

  • : trying to seem important, serious, or impressive


PORTENTOUS Defined for Kids

portentous

play
adjective por·ten·tous \pȯr-ˈten-təs\

Definition of portentous for Students

  1. :  giving a sign or warning of something usually bad that is going to happen <a portentous dream>



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up portentous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a harsh rebuke

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog-cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ