Word of the Day

: January 9, 2024


adjective AH-muh-nus

What It Means

Something described as ominous hints or suggests that something bad is coming or is going to happen.

// Our fears about the picnic being cancelled were heightened by the sight of dark, ominous clouds appearing over the horizon.

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ominous in Context

"The trailer opens with ominous signs of seismograph activity picking up as desert sands start to shift and a giant ape hand bursts out from below. 'For most of human civilization, we believed that life could only exist on the surface of our planet,' Andrews says in a voiceover. 'What else were we wrong about?'" — Jennifer Ouellette, ArsTechnica.com, 4 Dec. 2023

Did You Know?

Ominous didn't always mean that something bad was about to happen. If you look closely, you can see the omen in ominous, which gave it the original meaning of "being a sign of events to come"—whether good or bad. It ultimately comes from the Latin word omen, which is both an ancestor and a synonym of our omen. Today, however, ominous suggests a menacing or threatening aspect. Its synonyms portentous and fateful are used similarly, but ominous is the most menacing of the three. It implies an alarming quality that foreshadows evil or disaster. So when something wicked this way comes, count on ominous to deliver the news aforehand.

Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of ominous: LEBFLUA.



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