Check out new words added to


[pawr-tent, pohr-] /ˈpɔr tɛnt, ˈpoʊr-/
an indication or omen of something about to happen, especially something momentous.
threatening or disquieting significance:
an occurrence of dire portent.
a prodigy or marvel.
Origin of portent
1555-65; < Latin portentum sign, token, noun use of neuter of portentus, past participle of portendere to portend
1. augury, warning. See sign. 2. import. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for portent
  • The entire film is shot through with a sense of gravity and portent.
  • The composition of the committee turned out to be a portent of things to come.
  • Their arrival coincides with an earthquake, which shatters the city and offers an ominous portent for their mission.
  • It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already underway.
  • One encouraging portent is that more people are using the railway network.
  • To the superstitious and high-strung Athenians the event seemed a calamitous portent.
  • It is too soon to know whether the warm spell was a fluke or a portent, Nghiem said.
  • What is genuinely in doubt is whether that is but a burr in the two nations' broader relationship, or a portent.
  • So there's the obligatory prologue with a portent of danger.
  • He was entirely fearless, describing each new movement and phase of the portent to be noted down exactly as he observed them.
British Dictionary definitions for portent


a sign or indication of a future event, esp a momentous or calamitous one; omen
momentous or ominous significance: a cry of dire portent
a miraculous occurrence; marvel
Word Origin
C16: from Latin portentum sign, omen, from portendere to portend
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for portent

1560s, from Middle French portente, from Latin portentum "a sign, token, omen; monster, monstrosity," noun use of neuter of portentus, past participle of portendre (see portend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for portent

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for portent

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with portent