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

Examples of premonitory in a Sentence

a moderate tremor that some seismologists have interpreted as a premonitory sign of the catastrophic quake that is inevitable
Recent Examples on the Web Fashion observers had also noticed that Swift had introduced a premonitory blue bodysuit into her wardrobe at the Tuesday show. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 9 Aug. 2023 In 2020, four years since their first date, Ms. Carswell started having premonitory dreams of Ms. Wynn walking back into her life once again. Tiana Randall, New York Times, 7 Apr. 2023 Every flourish — a closeup of horses’ hooves pounding the mud, an action scene rendered in partial slow-motion, a sudden gasp as Peter’s wife, Dodienne (Charmaine Bingwa), awakens from a premonitory nightmare — suggests a filmmaker constrained by the visual grammar of the Hollywood action flick. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2022 In fact the American Migraine Foundation states that most people with migraine will notice at least one or more signs of the prodrome phase (pre-headache or premonitory phase) about 24–48 hours before the main attack, although not necessarily before every episode. Sara Lindberg, SELF, 22 Feb. 2022 My premonitory sense of what her novels were about—Mrs. Dalloway is about some lady, The Waves is about … waves, To the Lighthouse is about going to a lighthouse—turned out to be basically accurate. Patricia Lockwood, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2023 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'premonitory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 14 Jul. 2024.

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
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