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portent

[pawr-tent, pohr-] /ˈpɔr tɛnt, ˈpoʊr-/
noun
1.
an indication or omen of something about to happen, especially something momentous.
2.
threatening or disquieting significance:
an occurrence of dire portent.
3.
a prodigy or marvel.
Origin of portent
1555-1565
1555-65; < Latin portentum sign, token, noun use of neuter of portentus, past participle of portendere to portend
Synonyms
1. augury, warning. See sign. 2. import.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for portent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A portent of some new and unusual event, or rather the punishment attendant on some atrocious crime.

  • It was the hush of portent, the hush of watchfulness, the hush of a threatening tension.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • Questioning what this portent might mean, I saw a mighty phantom rise through the air.

    National Epics Kate Milner Rabb
  • They had him, but it was like getting hold of an apparition, a wraith, a portent.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • It was like a portent of something hanging over him, or over her who occupied so much of his thoughts.

    Blind Policy George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for portent

portent

/ˈpɔːtɛnt/
noun
1.
a sign or indication of a future event, esp a momentous or calamitous one; omen
2.
momentous or ominous significance: a cry of dire portent
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for portent
n.

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
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9
11
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