• WordNet 3.6
    • adj portentous puffed up with vanity "a grandiloquent and boastful manner","overblown oratory","a pompous speech","pseudo-scientific gobbledygook and pontifical hooey"- Newsweek"
    • adj portentous ominously prophetic
    • adj portentous of momentous or ominous significance "such a portentous...monster raised all my curiosity"- Herman Melville","a prodigious vision"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Portentous Hence: Monstrous; prodigious; wonderful; dreadful; as, a beast of portentous size.
    • Portentous Of the nature of a portent; containing portents; foreshadowing, esp. foreshadowing ill; ominous. "For, I believe, they are portentous things.""Victories of strange and almost portentous splendor."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • portentous Of the nature of a portent; ominous; foreshowing ill.
    • portentous Monstrous; prodigious; wonderful.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Portentous serving to portend: foreshadowing ill: wonderful, dreadful, prodigious
    • ***


  • Peter Conrad
    Peter Conrad
    “The historian's job is to aggrandize, promoting accident to inevitability and innocuous circumstance to portent.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. portentosus,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. portendĕre, portentumpro, forth, tendĕre, to stretch.


In literature:

James shook his head portentously, and changed the subject.
"History of the United Netherlands, 1600-09, Vol. IV. Complete" by John Lothrop Motley
It would be difficult to depict anything more precisely what an emperor in those portentous times should not be.
"The Life of John of Barneveld, 1609-15, Volume I." by John Lothrop Motley
People in Rhodesia had noted her coming, as a new portent, because of one strange peculiarity.
"Hilda Wade" by Grant Allen
Galusha did not appear to hear the question, and before it was repeated a knock, loud, portentous, threatening, sounded upon the door.
"Galusha the Magnificent" by Joseph C. Lincoln
Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!
"U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses" by Various
The opening is portentous and soon becomes a driving whirlwind of tone.
"Chopin: The Man and His Music" by James Huneker
How portentous had been that hand raised to stem the traffic at a congested corner on the Monday night!
"Number Seventeen" by Louis Tracy
All his inner being trembled at the portent of his next query.
"The Rainbow Trail" by Zane Grey
He is as cruel as he is brave, and as portentously ugly as he is cruel.
"The Lion of the North" by G.A. Henty
Zola's literary method may be described as a piling up of detail upon detail till there is attained an effect portentous, overwhelming.
"A Zola Dictionary" by J. G. Patterson

In poetry:

"A bird of loud portentous note,
One of the vulture race,
Which shepherds will to death devote,
In sanguinary chace."
"The Hermit's Dog" by William Hayley
But suddenly the gathering clouds
Portentous aspect wore;
And fiercely to the deluged earth,
Consign'd their wat'ry store.
"To Disappointment" by Elizabeth Bath
And so she dwelt: the valley more peaceful year by year;
When suddenly strange portents of some great deed seem'd near.
The golden corn was bending upon its fragile stalk,
While farmers, heedless of their fields, paced up and down in talk.
"A Legend of Bregenz" by Adelaide Anne Procter
A dark portentous cloud is seen to mount the eastern sky,
The deep-toned thunder rolling on, proclaims the tempest nigh!
And now it breaks with deafening crash, and lightning's livid glow;
The torrents leap from mountain crags and wildly dash below.
"The Sinless Child Part 4" by Elizabeth Oakes Smith
"It is the graven symbol of your ache,"
I said, " — the minted meaning of your blood;
And he who works not, robs you when he buys!
You are the vassal of a thing you make!"
I left him staring hard upon the mud,
The glimmer of a portent in his eyes.
"Money" by John Gneisenau Neihardt
And, as they neared a valley where a sheltered hamlet lay,
A strange, portentous wailing made them pause upon their way—
Voices fraught with anguish, telling of aching heart and brow,
Which kept moaning: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us now!”
"The Ten Lepers" by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

In news:

That Daryl sure knows his crossbows and pretty flowers that both inspire and portent.
Arriving in theaters on the back of a portentous ad campaign, Ridley Scott's Prometheus assumes the air of something more than a summer movie, a blockbuster-with-brains that links the genesis and the ultimate fate of mankind beyond the stars.
Such is Glazer 's prestige, and his reputation for intellectual honesty, that in some liberal precincts his anguished turnaround has been celebrated as a portent of a conservative crack-up, at least on issues of race.
"The Pearl" is a portentous parable about the price of success.
Jon Tester may be facing the most bitter and portentous senate campaign of the year, but first things first: He's got to get the wheat in.
Spurs uniforms a portent of things to come.
A bad portent returns on the Ogeechee River.
Mysteriously swelling Yellowstone supervolcano 'not a portent of doom,' finds mostly reassuring study.
FOOD- THE DISH- Bye, bye little guys: La Cucina's sad farewell a portent .
Navy Sees Gulf Activity As Portent of New Era.
S & P: Silly and Portentous or maybe Preposterous.
A portentous study early last year itemized the economic impact of developing oil and gas from the Utica Shale formation that's located several thousand feet below Ohio's farmlands.
While portentous power maneuvers go on in the ruling circles of Pyongyang, you hear far less about them in North Korea than in South Korea.
Director/writer Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) specializes in atmosphere over shock, and in Retribution he establishes a mood of eerie portent early on but never really delivers on his setup.
If the title of her new album is a tad portentous, Shelby Lynne is determined to make precisely detailed mood music, not a succession of revelatory moments, throughout Revelation Road.

In science:

Les r´esultats math´ematiques existants portent sur le cas mono-dimensionnel et le r´egime de faisceaux ´etroits .
Time Reversal for Classical Waves in Random Media