Definition of portentous
1 : of, relating to, or constituting a portent suspense, portentous foreshadowing, hints of sinister and violent mysteries — Francine Prose
2 : eliciting amazement or wonder : prodigious
3a : being a grave or serious matter portentous decisionsb : self-consciously solemn or important : pompous portentous declamation unsalted by the least trace of humor — W. H. Pritchardc : ponderously excessive that discipline's overwrought, portentous phrases — R. M. Coles
Examples of portentous in a Sentence
an eerie and portentous stillness hung over the camp the night before the battle
in 1969 people regarded the first landing on the moon as a truly portentous event
Recent Examples of portentous from the Web
Portentous, considering that the current concentration of CO2, now more than 400 parts per million, is reaching a level not seen for perhaps three million years, since the Pliocene epoch.
This is a downtown, waterfront style, filled with short, gritty sentences and portentous one-line paragraphs, conversational clichés and a genial indifference to grammar and literary decorum.
In the absence of psychological development or real suspense, chapters end with portentous rhetorical ellipses.
There will be more Wagner, and there will be an extended wrangle on the Covenant, which, in its isolated action, is the movie’s one lively scene (despite also being flecked with overtly portentous touches).
This duet between two young artists matches portentous Jungian mystery with frenetic Freudian avoidance.
Despite his sometimes portentous tones, Moss’s alter egos are gritty or playful: circus clowns, a satyr, a centaur.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portentous'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of portentous
Synonym Discussion of portentous
PORTENTOUS Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of portentous for Students
: giving a sign or warning of something usually bad that is going to happen a portentous dream
Seen and Heard
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