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portentous

[pawr-ten-tuh s, pohr-]
See more synonyms for portentous on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. of the nature of a portent; momentous.
  2. ominously significant or indicative: a portentous defeat.
  3. marvelous; amazing; prodigious.
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Origin of portentous

From the Latin word portentōsus, dating back to 1530–40. See portent, -ous
Related formspor·ten·tous·ly, adverbpor·ten·tous·ness, nounnon·por·ten·tous, adjectivenon·por·ten·tous·ly, adverbnon·por·ten·tous·ness, nounun·por·ten·tous, adjectiveun·por·ten·tous·ly, adverbun·por·ten·tous·ness, noun
Can be confusedportentous pretentious

Synonyms

See more synonyms for portentous on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. See ominous. 2. unpropitious, inauspicious, threatening.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for portentous

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Naming him was a portentous proceeding and one not to be lightly gone about.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I was as a man sapped of all strength by some portentous struggle.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • He delivered himself of this long speech with an air of portentous gravity.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • The most portentous crisis in the history of the human family has just passed.

    Buffalo Bill's Spy Trailer

    Colonel Prentiss Ingraham

  • Therefore he drew him aside in a manner as portentous and ingratiating as he could make it.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum


British Dictionary definitions for portentous

portentous

adjective
  1. of momentous or ominous significance
  2. miraculous, amazing, or awe-inspiring; prodigious
  3. self-important or pompous
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Derived Formsportentously, adverbportentousness, 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 portentous

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper