[ pawr-ten-tuh s, pohr- ]
/ pɔrˈtɛn təs, poʊr- /


of the nature of a portent; momentous.
ominously significant or indicative: a portentous defeat.
marvelous; amazing; prodigious.

Origin of portentous

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

SYNONYMS FOR portentous

1, 2 See ominous.
2 unpropitious, inauspicious, threatening.

Related forms

Can be confused

portentous pretentious
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for portentous

British Dictionary definitions for portentous


/ (pɔːˈtɛntəs) /


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

Derived Forms

portentously, 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