Definition of portent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːtɛnt/


1A sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen: many birds are regarded as being portents of death
More example sentences
  • The artist began to feel a general unease as things that happened and things he saw seemed to be signs and portents of some great event.
  • Alec, despite his grounding in the rational science of making lots of money, is swayed by symbols and portents, seemingly mundane signs that he interprets superstitiously to be indicators of the path he is meant to pursue.
  • In general I do not think of myself as a particularly superstitious person, but then things like this happen and I realize I am constantly on the look out for signs and portents in the world around me.
omen, sign, indication, presage, warning, forewarning, harbinger, augury, signal, promise, threat, menace, ill omen, forecast, prediction, prognostication, prophecy, straw in the wind, writing on the wall, hint, auspice;
premonition, presentiment, feeling, vague feeling, funny feeling, feeling in one's bones, foreboding, misgiving
literary foretoken
1.1 [mass noun] Future significance: an omen of grave portent for the tribe
More example sentences
  • A far more chilling episode, little remarked and with even graver portent for the future of the democratic process, occurred on November 12.
  • I cannot express strongly enough how horrified I am at what has happened and its evil and terrifying portent for the future.
  • It's birthday week so everything seems meaningful and full of portent.
significance, importance, import, consequence, meaning, meaningfulness, moment, momentousness, weight, weightiness, cruciality
2 literary An exceptional or wonderful person or thing: what portent can be greater than a pious notary?


Late 16th century: from Latin portentum 'omen, token', from the verb portendere (see portend).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: por|tent

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