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90s Slang You Should Know


[pawr-ten-tuh s, pohr-] /pɔrˈtɛn təs, poʊr-/
of the nature of a portent; momentous.
ominously significant or indicative:
a portentous defeat.
marvelous; amazing; prodigious.
Origin of portentous
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.
1, 2. See ominous. 2. unpropitious, inauspicious, threatening. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for portentously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She nodded her head, slowly, portentously; and her glance was heavy with significance.

    My Friend Prospero Henry Harland
  • No one could have been so portentously sagacious as he looked.

    John Forster Percy Hethrington Fitzgerald
  • Grandma, the Demon, entered and portentously shook hands with him.

    Bunker Bean Harry Leon Wilson
  • This, sir, he said portentously, is the language of the Derby.

    Lord Randolph Churchill Winston Spencer Churchill
  • "Mr. Richards will be in front to-night," he told her, portentously.

    The Vanity Girl Compton Mackenzie
  • She said it portentously, as bidding him remember he might be sorry when she was no more.

    Old Crow Alice Brown
  • Stinson and Mathews, who were supposed to be out of it anyway, winked at each other portentously.

    The Woman from Outside Hulbert Footner
  • He is as cruel as he is brave, and as portentously ugly as he is cruel.

British Dictionary definitions for portentously


of momentous or ominous significance
miraculous, amazing, or awe-inspiring; prodigious
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 portentously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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