View synonyms for portentous


[ pawr-ten-tuhs, pohr- ]


  1. of the nature of a portent; momentous.
  2. ominously significant or indicative:

    a portentous defeat.

    Synonyms: unpropitious, threatening, inauspicious

  3. marvelous; amazing; prodigious.


/ pɔːˈtɛntəs /


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

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Derived Forms

  • porˈtentousness, noun
  • porˈtentously, adverb
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Other Words From

  • por·tentous·ly adverb
  • por·tentous·ness noun
  • nonpor·tentous adjective
  • nonpor·tentous·ly adverb
  • nonpor·tentous·ness noun
  • unpor·tentous adjective
  • unpor·tentous·ly adverb
  • unpor·tentous·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of portentous1

From the Latin word portentōsus, dating back to 1530–40. See portent, -ous
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Synonym Study

See ominous.
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Example Sentences

Now interestingly, while many Norse sources and their modern interpretations represent the Valkyries as noble female spirits imbued with beauty and power, the original Germanic narratives tended to portray them in a more portentous manner.

Cernunnos is arguably the most visually impressive and rather portentous of ancient Celtic gods.

As such, there is a portentous quality here that can occasionally get in its own way.

Little moments are portentous of grand sweeping changes, and big, dramatic moments are meaningless to all but the few involved.

These portentous rumblings aside, no coherent position on ectogenesis has emerged so far within the pro-life movement.

Ultimately, though, it is difficult to see the point of this rather portentous book.

Behind these macho moves lie some pretty dramatic and portentous policy decisions.

There was the most portentous picture of a Griffin on the first page, with verses below.

Ripperda roused himself from his portentous trance, and arrayed his noble figure in the rugged habiliments of the muleteer.

The Briton, holding the documents in a pudgy hand, looked at the swift-gestured director with portentous solemnity.

Again my soul trembled with anguish, for that strange portentous word, 'death,' was ever written within me or without.

The wedding is a portentous affair, lasting all day from early morning, and the bride and bridegroom remain in the house.


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