ominous

[om-uh-nuh s]

adjective

portending evil or harm; foreboding; threatening; inauspicious: an ominous bank of dark clouds.
indicating the nature of a future event, for good or evil; having the significance of an omen; being a portent: Some of these events were immediately ominous, while others only later revealed themselves as such.

Nearby words

  1. omertà,
  2. omg,
  3. omi,
  4. omicron,
  5. omigod,
  6. ominously,
  7. omissible,
  8. omission,
  9. omissive,
  10. omissively

Origin of ominous

1580–90; < Latin ōminōsus portentous, equivalent to ōmin- (stem of ōmen) omen + -ōsus -ous

SYNONYMS FOR ominous
Ominous, portentous, threatening, menacing, fateful are adjectives describing that which forebodes a serious, significant, and often harmful outcome. Ominous, derived from omen “a predictor of outcomes,” usually suggests evil or damaging eventualities: ominous storm clouds; an ominous silence. Portentous, although it may suggest evil results, often stresses a momentous or very important outcome: a portentous moment in history; a portentous escalation of hostilities. Threatening may suggest calamity or great harm but sometimes mere unpleasantness: a threatening rumble from the volcano; A threatening look from his brother caused him to quickly change the subject. Menacing always suggests serious damage as an outcome: a disease menacing the entire population; He advanced with a menacing swagger. Fateful most often stresses the great or decisive importance of what it describes: a fateful encounter between two future leaders; a fateful day that changed our world.

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ominous


British Dictionary definitions for ominous

ominous

adjective

foreboding evil
serving as or having significance as an omen
Derived Formsominously, adverbominousness, noun

Word Origin for ominous

C16: from Latin ōminōsus, from omen

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 ominous

ominous

adj.

1580s, from Latin ominosus "full of foreboding," from omen (genitive ominis) "foreboding" (see omen). Related: Ominousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper