Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective ominous differ from other similar words?

The words fateful and portentous are common synonyms of ominous. While all three words mean "having a menacing or threatening aspect," ominous implies having a menacing, alarming character foreshadowing evil or disaster.

ominous rumblings from the volcano

Where would fateful be a reasonable alternative to ominous?

The words fateful and ominous can be used in similar contexts, but fateful suggests being of momentous or decisive importance.

the fateful conference that led to war

When can portentous be used instead of ominous?

Although the words portentous and ominous have much in common, portentous suggests being frighteningly big or impressive but now seldom definitely connotes forewarning of calamity.

an eerie and portentous stillness


Thesaurus Entries Near ominous

Cite this Entry

“Ominous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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