[fawr-boh-ding, fohr-]
See more synonyms for foreboding on
  1. that forebodes, especially evil.

Origin of foreboding

1350–1400; Middle English forbodyng (noun); see forebode, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsfore·bod·ing·ly, adverbfore·bod·ing·ness, nounun·fore·bod·ing, adjective
Can be confusedforbidding foreboding


[fawr-bohd, fohr-]
verb (used with object), fore·bod·ed, fore·bod·ing.
  1. to foretell or predict; be an omen of; indicate beforehand; portend: clouds that forebode a storm.
  2. to have a strong inner feeling or notion of (a future misfortune, evil, catastrophe, etc.); have a presentiment of.
verb (used without object), fore·bod·ed, fore·bod·ing.
  1. to prophesy.
  2. to have a presentiment.

Origin of forebode

First recorded in 1595–1605; fore- + bode1
Related formsfore·bod·er, nounun·fore·bod·ed, adjective
Can be confusedforbade forbid forbidden forebode

Synonyms for forebode

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for foreboding

Contemporary Examples of foreboding

Historical Examples of foreboding

  • But there is one subject, on which my mind is filled with foreboding.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • As the fair Rosa, with foreboding doubt, had foretold, so it happened.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • She was weary—weary from exertion and disappointment and foreboding.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • The foreboding was not as definite, but it was always with him; he could not shake it off.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Perhaps already some foreboding of the nature of its contents was in his mind.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for foreboding


  1. a feeling of impending evil, disaster, etc
  2. an omen or portent
  1. presaging something
Derived Formsforebodingly, adverbforebodingness, noun


  1. to warn of or indicate (an event, result, etc) in advance
  2. to have an intuition or premonition of (an event)
Derived Formsforeboder, 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

Word Origin and History for foreboding

late 14c., "a predilection, portent, omen," from fore- + verbal noun from bode. Meaning "sense of something bad about to happen" is from c.1600. Old English forebodung meant "prophecy."



"feel a secret premonition," c.1600, from fore- + bode. Related: Foreboded; foreboding. Old English forebodian meant "to announce, declare."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper