pre·​sen·​ti·​ment | \ pri-ˈzen-tə-mənt How to pronounce presentiment (audio) \

Definition of presentiment

: a feeling that something will or is about to happen : premonition

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Other Words from presentiment

presentimental \ pri-​ˌzen-​tə-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce presentimental (audio) \ adjective

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Do you ever have presentiments, Mr. Flintwich?' 'I am not sure that I know what you mean by the term, sir,' replied that gentleman. 'Say, in this case, Mr. Flintwich, undefined anticipations of pleasure to come.' 'I can't say I'm sensible of such a sensation at present,' returned Mr. Flintwich, with the utmost gravity. Nothing sensational said here, perhaps, but Mr. Flintwich shows a sensitivity to words that, like "presentiment," are related to the Latin verb sentire, ("to feel"). He uses two of these words, and we've added three more. The quote is from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, and the words are "sensible," "sensation," "sensational," "sensitivity," and "sense."

Examples of presentiment in a Sentence

a nagging presentiment of danger

Recent Examples on the Web

Those years, of course, marked respectively the peak of the frenzied optimism of the last business cycle and the first chilling presentiments of what was to come. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "From Covington Catholic to an Uneasy Davos," 25 Jan. 2019 During the 1919 scenes she is occasionally stopped in her tracks by presentiments of what’s in store around the corner. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: The Future Is Always Present in ‘Time and the Conways’," 10 Oct. 2017

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

First Known Use of presentiment

1714, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for presentiment

French pressentiment, from Middle French, from pressentir to have a presentiment, from Latin praesentire to feel beforehand, from prae- + sentire to feel — more at sense

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Time Traveler for presentiment

The first known use of presentiment was in 1714

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English Language Learners Definition of presentiment

formal : a feeling or belief that something is going to happen

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