Definition of ominous in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɒmɪnəs/


Giving the worrying impression that something bad is going to happen; threateningly inauspicious: there were ominous dark clouds gathering overhead
More example sentences
  • In recent times however, the label could be associated with an even more ominous threat.
  • The storm is just about to break, there's an ominous black cloud over Sheffield.
  • Outside, dark, ominous thunder clouds gathered as rain began to pelt down on top of her car.
threatening, menacing, baleful, forbidding, sinister, doomy, inauspicious, unpropitious, portentous, unfavourable, dire, unpromising;
black, dark, wintry, gloomy, ugly
archaic direful
rare minatory, minacious, sinistrous



Pronunciation: /ˈɒmɪnəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • The seamless combination of dialogue, color palette, music and editing created a feeling of ominousness throughout the film keeping my stomach churning.
  • Asleep in a dream world, where the grass is still green and there is a horizon of dreams to visit the cloth covering her, though, takes on ominousness of a shroud.
  • The meanings shuffle across many levels, some streaking away beyond vision, leaving tantalising traces of ominousness.


Late 16th century: from Latin ominosus, from omen, omin- 'omen'.

  • abominable from Middle English:

    People used to think that abominable came from Latin ab- ‘away from’ and homo ‘human being’, and so literally meant ‘inhuman or beastly’. Consequently, until the 17th century it was frequently spelt abhominable, a spelling found in Shakespeare. In fact, the word comes from Latin abominari, meaning ‘to regard something as a bad omen’, and is related to omen (late 16th century) and ominous (late 16th century). Abominable Snowman is another name for the Himalayan Yeti. The name was brought back by the Royal Geographical Society expedition mounted in 1921 to Mount Everest, which found mysterious footprints in the snow. Abominable Snowman is a translation of Tibetan Meetoh Gangmi, the name the Sherpa porters gave to the animal responsible for the tracks. Yeti is from Tibetan yeh-the ‘little man-like animal’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: om¦in|ous

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.