A Word A Day : Portent
( Noun )Portent
Word of 3rd July 2007: A Word A Day-Portent
(POR tent): an omen; a sign of something coming in the future
• The distant rumbling we heard this morning was a portent
of the thunderstorm that hit our area this afternoon.
• Stock-market investors looked for portents
in their complicated charts and graphs. They hoped that the market's past behavior would give them a clue as to what would happen in the future.
is the adjective form of portent
, meaning ominous or filled with portent. But it is very often used to mean pompous or self-consciously serious or ominous-sounding. It can also mean amazing or prodigious.
• A portentous
speech is not one that you would enjoy listening to.
• A portentous
announcement might be one that tried to create an inappropriate sense of alarm in those listening to it.
can also mean amazing or astonishing. A portentous
sunset might be a remarkable glorious one rather than an ominous or menacing one.
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