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[pri-zen-tuh-muh nt] /prɪˈzɛn tə mənt/
a feeling or impression that something is about to happen, especially something evil; foreboding.
Origin of presentiment
1705-15; < French, now obsolete spelling of pressentiment. See pre-, sentiment
Related forms
presentimental, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for presentiment
Historical Examples
  • I did not want to come to this ball, said Eugnie; it was clearly a presentiment.

  • Without understanding what she wanted, he had the presentiment of something terrible.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • Dion, with a presentiment that misfortune was threatening himself and his dear ones, obeyed the summons.

    Cleopatra, Complete Georg Ebers
  • I have a presentiment that this is his last illness, and I am far from him.

  • I felt depressed and out of spirits—perhaps a presentiment of what was coming.

  • You don't see him; you divine his presence: you don't hear him; you have a presentiment of him.

    Fantmas Pierre Souvestre
  • They had a presentiment that they too would never get beyond that point.

  • He had a presentiment of a very great danger, he was seeking for a way to retreat from it.

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
  • She had a presentiment that her letter was in the bag at last.

    Desperate Remedies Thomas Hardy
  • Her heart is too sad, the presentiment too heavy on it, to be affected by any such sophistry.

    Gaspar the Gaucho Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for presentiment


a sense of something about to happen; premonition
Word Origin
C18: from obsolete French, from pressentir to sense beforehand; see pre-, sentiment
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 presentiment

1714, from obsolete French presentiment (Modern French Related: pressentiment), from Middle French pressentir "to have foreboding," from Latin praesentire "to sense beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + sentire "perceive, feel" (see sense (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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