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  1. anything perceived or happening that is believed to portend a good or evil event or circumstance in the future; portent.
  2. a prognostic.
  3. prophetic significance; presage: a bird of ill omen.
verb (used with object)
  1. to be an omen of; portend.
  2. to divine, as if from omens.

Origin of omen

First recorded in 1575–85, omen is from the Latin word ōmen
Related formsun·o·mened, adjective

Synonyms for omen

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for omen


  1. a phenomenon or occurrence regarded as a sign of future happiness or disaster
  2. prophetic significance
  1. (tr) to portend

Word Origin for omen

C16: from Latin
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 omen

1580s, from Latin omen "foreboding," from Old Latin osmen, of unknown origin; perhaps connected with the root of audire "to hear" [OED] or from PIE *o- "to believe, hold as true" (cf. Greek oiomai "I suppose, think, believe").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper