portent

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n portent a sign of something about to happen "he looked for an omen before going into battle"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Portent That which portends, or foretoken; esp., that which portends evil; a sign of coming calamity; an omen; a sign. "My loss by dire portents the god foretold."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n portent That which portends or foretokens; a sign or token; an omen, generally of ill, or of something to be feared.
    • n portent Synonyms Sign, Presage, etc. See omen, and foretell, v. t.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Portent that which portends or foreshows: an evil omen
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Quotations

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

Etymology

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

Usage

In literature:

It is a novel of portentous length and utter vacuity.
"Essays on Russian Novelists" by William Lyon Phelps
Mary saw and sighed; while the Colonel shook his head portentously.
"Stella Fregelius" by H. Rider Haggard
Almo's austere celibacy is a portent in our world and altogether marvellous.
"The Unwilling Vestal" by Edward Lucas White
And yet how portentous!
"Over Prairie Trails" by Frederick Philip Grove
It did not do to sneer at signs and portents.
"The Great Stone of Sardis" by Frank R. Stockton
And his fate is the portent of portents to you now!
"Hypatia" by Charles Kingsley
Then the weather-wise know there are two kinds of clouds, rain-clouds and wind-clouds, and that the latter are always the most portentous.
"Locusts and Wild Honey" by John Burroughs
Portentously spectral, Mr. Jones frowned at the sound.
"Victory" by Joseph Conrad
Mrs. Tulliver was frightened; there was something portentous in this mad outbreak; she did not see how life could go on after it.
"The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot
It was a form of portentous size and fearful shape, and I could not make out at first the nature of it.
"A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder" by James De Mille
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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
The cannon syllabled his name;
His shadow shifted o'er the land,
Portentous, as at his demand
Successive battalions sprang to flame!
"The Death Of Grant" by Ambrose Bierce
It is portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down.
"Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight" by Vachel Lindsay
Thus taught, they waited long the Great Event,
Foresaw the Day, Amaz'd at the Portent:
Stupendous Grace and Power they view'd, Ador'd
The Sov'rain GOD, and Pry'd into his Word.
"A Poem on Elijahs'Translation, Occasion'd" by Benjamin Colman
But when, portentous 'mid the storms of war,
Glared Public danger; when, with withering din,
The spoil-flush'd foe strode furious from afar;
And direr dread! Rebellion raged within:
"Sheridan" by Thomas Gent
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:

Take a collection of stories, connect them through portentous themes and watch it all spin.
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.
"The Pearl" is a portentous parable about the price of success.
A bad portent returns on the Ogeechee River.
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.
S & P: Silly and Portentous or maybe Preposterous .
One, the sonogram slow-down, of sorts, is probably a portent.
Studies portentously estimate that it costs US industry maybe $150 billion a year.
The tasks that the congress has supposedly set itself are equally portentous.
The day dawned gray and chilly, a portent of winter's proximity.
Nonetheless, this is a good portent.
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.
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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
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