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portentous

[pawr-ten-tuh s, pohr-] /pɔrˈtɛn təs, poʊr-/
adjective
1.
of the nature of a portent; momentous.
2.
ominously significant or indicative:
a portentous defeat.
3.
marvelous; amazing; prodigious.
Origin of portentous
1530-1540
From the Latin word portentōsus, dating back to 1530-40. See portent, -ous
Related forms
portentously, adverb
portentousness, noun
nonportentous, adjective
nonportentously, adverb
nonportentousness, noun
unportentous, adjective
unportentously, adverb
unportentousness, noun
Can be confused
portentous, pretentious.
Synonyms
1, 2. See ominous. 2. unpropitious, inauspicious, threatening.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for portentous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Naming him was a portentous proceeding and one not to be lightly gone about.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I was as a man sapped of all strength by some portentous struggle.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • He delivered himself of this long speech with an air of portentous gravity.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • The most portentous crisis in the history of the human family has just passed.

    Buffalo Bill's Spy Trailer Colonel Prentiss Ingraham
  • Therefore he drew him aside in a manner as portentous and ingratiating as he could make it.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
British Dictionary definitions for portentous

portentous

/pɔːˈtɛntəs/
adjective
1.
of momentous or ominous significance
2.
miraculous, amazing, or awe-inspiring; prodigious
3.
self-important or pompous
Derived Forms
portentously, adverb
portentousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for portentous
adj.

1540s, from Latin portentosus "monstrous, marvelous, threatening," from portentem "portent" (see portend). Related: Portentously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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