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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce portent (audio)

Dictionary definition of portent

A sign, omen, or indication that is believed to foreshadow or signify something significant or momentous, often with an air of foreboding or significance.
"The black cat crossing their path was seen as a portent of bad luck."

Detailed meaning of portent

It is a phenomenon, event, or occurrence that is regarded as a warning or herald of future events, whether positive or negative. Portents are often seen as symbolic or supernatural in nature, suggesting a deeper meaning or significance beyond the surface level. They can be interpreted as a harbinger of upcoming changes, a prediction of imminent danger, or a manifestation of divine intervention. Portents can take various forms, such as celestial events, unusual natural phenomena, unusual animal behavior, or even unusual occurrences in dreams or visions. Throughout history, portents have been observed and interpreted by different cultures and societies as a means of understanding and preparing for what lies ahead.

Example sentences containing portent

1. The sudden appearance of dark clouds was a portent of an impending storm.
2. The strange howling in the night was considered a portent of supernatural occurrences.
3. The blood-red moon was viewed as a portent of impending doom.
4. The unexplained flickering lights in the old house were considered a portent of ghosts.
5. The crumbling of the ancient statue was seen as a portent of the empire's decline.
6. The arrival of a shooting star was regarded as a portent of good fortune.

History and etymology of portent

The noun 'portent' derives from the Latin word 'portentum,' which means 'a sign' or 'omen.' In Latin, 'portentum' is formed from the verb 'portendere,' where 'por-' means 'forth' or 'forward,' and 'tendere' means 'to stretch' or 'to extend.' The idea behind 'portendere' was that certain events or phenomena seemed to stretch forward or extend beyond the ordinary course of events, signaling something extraordinary or significant. This notion of signs and omens foreshadowing important events is at the core of the word 'portent.' It carries an air of foreboding or significance, suggesting that these signs are not to be taken lightly and may indicate momentous developments in the future. The etymology of 'portent' underscores the ancient belief in the connection between the natural world and the unfolding of destiny or fate.

Quiz: Find the meaning of portent

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Further usage examples of portent

1. The ringing of the church bells at an unusual time was interpreted as a portent of tragedy.
2. The sudden silence in the forest was a portent of an approaching predator.
3. The politician's controversial statement was seen as a portent of future conflicts.
4. The appearance of a rainbow after a heavy rainfall was considered a portent of hope.
5. The sighting of a rare bird species was seen as a portent of environmental balance.
6. The oracle's cryptic message was believed to hold portents of the kingdom's future.
7. The earthquake's tremors were seen as a portent of greater seismic activity.
8. The spider weaving an intricate web was regarded as a portent of creativity and intricate planning.
9. The dark clouds gathering on the horizon were a portent of the impending storm.
10. Her sudden silence during the meeting was seen as a portent of bad news.
11. The eerie howling of wolves in the distance felt like a portent of danger.
12. The stock market's recent fluctuations are seen as a portent of economic uncertainty.
13. The old man's cryptic words were taken as a portent of things to come.
14. The black cat crossing my path felt like a portent of bad luck.
15. The ancient prophecy was considered a portent of a great hero's arrival.
16. The unexpected drop in temperature was a portent of the coming winter.
17. The red sky at sunrise was a portent of a beautiful day ahead.
18. The sudden power outage was a portent of the chaos that would follow.
19. The eerie silence in the haunted house was a portent of paranormal activity.
20. The politician's resignation speech was seen as a portent of political turmoil.
21. The raven's cawing was often interpreted as a portent of death.
22. The mysterious symbol on the ancient map was a portent of hidden treasure.
23. The sudden appearance of a shooting star was a portent of good luck.
24. The prophet's cryptic dreams were seen as portents of future events.
25. The strange noise in the attic was a portent of a long-forgotten secret.
26. The eerie glow in the night sky was a portent of an otherworldly phenomenon.
27. The ancient runes on the stone tablet were believed to be portents of destiny.
28. The eerie stillness in the forest was a portent of an impending natural disaster.



omen, non-indicator, assurance, irrelevance


ACT 16 (American College Testing), Consequences and Reactions, High School 6

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