[ fawr-boh-ding, fohr- ]
See synonyms for foreboding on
  1. a prediction; portent.

  2. a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc.; presentiment.

  1. that forebodes, especially evil.

Origin of foreboding

1350–1400; Middle English forbodyng (noun); see forebode, -ing1, -ing2

Other words from foreboding

  • fore·bod·ing·ly, adverb
  • fore·bod·ing·ness, noun
  • un·fore·bod·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with foreboding Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use foreboding in a sentence

  • She shook her head forebodingly, with her lips pursed up; then she went about her business—as she would herself have said.

    East Angels | Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • Trudaine took it from him, and shook his head forebodingly as he looked over the paragraph which had just been read.

    After Dark | Wilkie Collins
  • Grasping Pierre's arm, Isabel eagerly and forebodingly demands what is the cause of this most strange and unpleasant transition.

    Pierre; or The Ambiguities | Herman Melville
  • The old man shook his head, forebodingly, as Hugh's form disappeared down the trail.

    Ande Trembath | Matthew Stanley Kemp
  • She slowly arose and placed the child in Margaret's eager arms, and shaking her head forebodingly, left the room.

    Faithful Margaret | Annie Ashmore

British Dictionary definitions for foreboding


/ (fɔːˈbəʊdɪŋ) /

  1. a feeling of impending evil, disaster, etc

  2. an omen or portent

  1. presaging something

Derived forms of foreboding

  • forebodingly, adverb
  • forebodingness, 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