Why was clemency trending last week?


[pawr-tend, pohr-] /pɔrˈtɛnd, poʊr-/
verb (used with object)
to indicate in advance; to foreshadow or presage, as an omen does:
The street incident may portend a general uprising.
to signify; mean.
Origin of portend
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin portendere to point out, indicate, portend, variant of prōtendere to extend. See pro-1, tend1
Related forms
unportended, adjective
Can be confused
portend, pretend (see synonym study at pretend)
1. foretell, forecast, augur, promise, forebode. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for portend
  • Over the crowns of the cypress, towers of blue-black cumulus portend a storm.
  • The two clown around; they exchange fragments of thoughts that portend more than they state.
  • The combination does not portend huge numbers.
  • Very kind of you to lay out the options of what the symptoms can portend.
  • That's good news for homeowners in trouble, but it's unlikely to portend fewer foreclosures in the long-run.
  • This data is unsurprising but it doesn't portend much of anything.
  • Aesthetically this is not bad at all, but in practical terms it may portend disaster.
  • And rising incomes typically portend higher consumer spending, which makes up about 70% of the economy.
  • The judge's ruling could portend problems for other banks that are defendants in similar cases.
  • There is certainly nothing about her pudgy cheeks that could be said to portend the fragile facial contours of a ballerina.
British Dictionary definitions for portend


verb (transitive)
to give warning of; predict or foreshadow
(obsolete) to indicate or signify; mean
Word Origin
C15: from Latin portendere to indicate, foretell; related to prōtendere to stretch out
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
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Word Origin and History for portend

early 15c., from Latin portendere "foretell, reveal; point out, indicate," originally "to stretch forward," from por- (variant of pro-; see pro-) "forth, forward" + tendere "to stretch, extend" (see tenet). Related: Portended; portending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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