pre·​mon·​i·​to·​ry pri-ˈmä-nə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce premonitory (audio)
: giving warning
a premonitory symptom
premonitorily adverb

Example Sentences

a moderate tremor that some seismologists have interpreted as a premonitory sign of the catastrophic quake that is inevitable
Recent Examples on the Web The mystery and melancholy of a street, De Chirico’s inspired phrase for his premonitory modern painting of city lights and shadows, could be the title of the whole exhibition. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 8 Dec. 2022 Seventy-six people wrote to Barker claiming premonitory visions of the Aberfan disaster. Ian Beacock, The New Republic, 25 Aug. 2022 The sense of premonitory dread sets in early, as the boys, ages 11 to 16, and their coach leave practice on their bicycles to explore the nearby Tham Luang cave as part of an impromptu birthday celebration for one of the players. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 July 2022 Its blood cloud opening sequence turns out to be a premonitory dream, as Lise awakes in her bed on the morning of a day that may change her life altogether. John Hopewell, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 Perhaps Lee sees himself as a premonitory vessel who has discovered the junction at which fiction merges with history. The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021 The title, which came early in the process, proved premonitory. New York Times, 29 Nov. 2020 Most of those who have no visual aura will still experience premonitory symptoms—yawning, fatigue, mood changes, neck pain, sensitivity to light—that may serve as a warning of an imminent headache. R. Allan Purdy, Scientific American, 1 May 2017 Like all truly premonitory thought, the critical feminism of Butler, Hayles and Haraway provides an evocative account of body drift as the emblematic sign of contemporary culture. Bruce Sterling, WIRED, 13 Dec. 2012 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'premonitory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1647, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of premonitory was in 1647

Dictionary Entries Near premonitory

Cite this Entry

“Premonitory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


pre·​mon·​i·​to·​ry pri-ˈmän-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce premonitory (audio)
: giving warning
a premonitory symptom
premonitory aura in epilepsy
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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