[pri-zen-tuh-muh nt]


a feeling or impression that something is about to happen, especially something evil; foreboding.

Origin of presentiment

1705–15; < French, now obsolete spelling of pressentiment. See pre-, sentiment
Related formspre·sen·ti·ment·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for presentiment

Historical Examples of presentiment

  • I suppose you had a presentiment I should like him, and left him for me, mamma!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • He bit his lip in his annoyance, shivering with a presentiment.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • I had had the presentiment of this, but the certitude of it now caused me intense grief.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Of that I know nothing; Fate has no hint, my heart no presentiment.

  • Cornstalk is said to have had a presentiment of his approaching fate.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

British Dictionary definitions for presentiment



a sense of something about to happen; premonition

Word Origin for presentiment

C18: from obsolete French, from pressentir to sense beforehand; see pre-, sentiment
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 presentiment

1714, from obsolete French presentiment (Modern French Related: pressentiment), from Middle French pressentir "to have foreboding," from Latin praesentire "to sense beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + sentire "perceive, feel" (see sense (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper