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Word of the Day
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Definitions for portent

  1. A sign of a coming event or calamity; an omen.
  2. Prophetic or menacing significance.
  3. Something amazing; a marvel.

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Citations for portent
A comet that year was taken as a portent of some imminent but incalculable change. Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation
To Mohammed, the relentless sandstorm was foreboding, a portent of divine will. Anthony Shadid, Washington Post
Origin of portent
Portent comes from Latin portentum, from portendere, "to stretch out before or into the future, to predict," from por- (variant of pro-), "before" + tendere, "to stretch out." Related words include portend, "to give an omen or sign of," and portentous, "ominous, foreboding."