from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An indication of something important or calamitous about to occur; an omen.
  • noun Prophetic or threatening significance.
  • noun Archaic Something amazing or marvelous; a prodigy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That which portends or foretokens; a sign or token; an omen, generally of ill, or of something to be feared.
  • noun Synonyms Sign, Presage, etc. See omen, and foretell, v. t.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which portends, or foretoken; esp., that which portends evil; a sign of coming calamity; an omen; a sign.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Something that portends an event about to occur, especially an unfortunate or evil event; an omen.
  • noun A portending; significance; as, a howl of dire portent.
  • noun Something regarded as portentous; a marvel; prodigy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a sign of something about to happen


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin portentum, from neuter past participle of portendere, to portend; see portend.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

portend +‎ -ent


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  • Is the new design a good portent from the new management team? blog comments powered by Disqus

    Android and Palm coming with new phones : #comments 2008

  • The portent is described with great force and subtlety.

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1911 - Presentation Speech 1911

  • "And who shall say," Abraham asked, looking from face to face, "that it's not a portent from the heavens that we shall find the Way of the Spices?

    Spice and the Devil's Cave 1930

  • Always the portent was a shadow behind their interest and amiability and jealousy.

    The Border Legion Zane Grey 1905

  • Saurid, being convinced by his priests, astrologers and soothsayers that the portent was a true one, became from that time possessed of one idea, which was that the vast learning of Egypt, its sciences, discoveries and strange traditions should not be lost, -- and that the exploits and achievements of those who were great and famous in the land should be so recorded as never to be forgotten.

    Ziska Marie Corelli 1889

  • STRANGER: There did really happen, and will again happen, like many other events of which ancient tradition has preserved the record, the portent which is traditionally said to have occurred in the quarrel of Atreus and Thyestes.

    The Statesman 2006

  • She was struck by how accurately the Sister had hit upon the peculiar, uneasy feeling she was havinga kind of portent to doom, yet without definable cause, that made the fine hairs at the back of her neck stand on end like when she would be lying in her bedroll, almost asleep, and every insect, all at once, went silent.

    The Pillars of Creation Goodkind, Terry 2001

  • This incident at Walker's Point when a freak storm destroyed his mildly ancestral home in Kennebunkport was almost a kind of portent of what was to come.

    Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies 1989-1993 1993

  • If we glance over the latter part of the book of prodigies, compiled by the otherwise unknown writer Julius Obsequens from the records of the pontifices quoted in Livy's history, we can get a fair idea of the kind of portent that was troubling the popular mind.

    Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero W. Warde Fowler 1884

  • He told himself that it was a silly piece of superstition; but, all the same, a strange feeling troubled him; and it seemed as if the fall of these old mementoes of the gallant officer, his dead father, was a kind of portent of trouble to come -- trouble and disaster that would be brought about by his cousin.

    The Queen's Scarlet The Adventures and Misadventures of Sir Richard Frayne George Manville Fenn 1870


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  • Portents and prodigies have grown so frequent,

    That they have lost their name. Our fruitful Nile

    Flowed ere the wonted season, with a torrent

    So unexpected, and so wondrous fierce,

    That the wild deluge overtook the haste

    Even of the hinds that watched it:

    - John Dryden, 'All for Love'.

    September 20, 2009

  • This word is the title of an 1866 Herman Melville poem about John Brown.

    March 29, 2020