Definition of portentous in English:

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Pronunciation: /pɔːˈtɛntəs/


1Of or like a portent; of momentous significance: this portentous year in Canadian history
More example sentences
  • In fewer than 100 pages, we travel from a haunted garden to the very gates of hell, via ominous encounters, portentous conversations and moments of absurd levity.
  • Miller had the advantage of having seen the play in the early 90s, when it was momentous and portentous.
  • His recent momentous, and portentous, decision to say that he doesn't need any more of our money, and that he'll be giving his future material away, will have repercussions for countless artists in later years.
ominous, warning, foreshadowing, predictive, premonitory, prognosticatory, momentous, fateful;
threatening, menacing, foreboding, sinister, ill-omened, inauspicious, unpropitious, unpromising, gloomy, unfavourable
1.1Done in a pompously or overly solemn manner so as to impress: the author’s portentous moralizings
More example sentences
  • Don't go getting the impression that Demonstration is at all pompous or portentous, though.
  • This is all very solemn and portentous, but it's impossible to shake the feeling this is a virtuoso example of preaching to the converted.
  • The judging panel decried previous Booker choices as being ‘pompous, portentous and pretentious’, and promoted Waters and her fellow nominees as the writers truly deserving of attention.
pompous, bombastic, self-important, pontifical, ponderous, solemn, sonorous, grandiloquent, declamatory, overblown, overripe, inflated, rhetorical, oratorical



Pronunciation: /pɔːˈtɛntəsli/
Example sentences
  • Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps portentously, since that night the band seem to have been present at a number of the rare moments in my life here where I am actually content to live in the moment, in Singapore.
  • If Haneke seems portentously to insist on a metaphorical dimension during this sequence, with its audio overlaps, he makes a similar metaphorical point more subtly through the very nature of his subject and setting.
  • The national security adviser portentously described the coming conflict as an event ‘that could literally decide the balance of power in the world for years to come.’


Pronunciation: /pɔːˈtɛntəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Believers in propaganda by deed, usually choose to invest themselves with portentousness by selecting an anniversary that will freight their murder with meaning.
  • James Hall introduces his book with untypical portentousness, asserting that we need to understand Michelangelo, ‘if we really want to understand our culture’.
  • Archie carries volume and weight and just the right edge of portentousness to give the viewer insight as well as satisfaction.

Words that rhyme with portentous


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: por¦tent|ous

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