- Portentous is defined as causing awe or wonder.
An example of portentous is the opening gate of a brightly lit carnival.
- Portentous means self-important.
An example of portentous is a professor’s lecture that is more about his own experiences than about teaching a subject.
- The definition of portentous is having the feeling of evil or foreboding.
An example of portentus is the mood created by spooky music at a haunted house.
- that portends evil; ominous
- arousing awe or amazement; marvelous
- ponderous or pompous; self-important
Origin: L portentosus from portentum: see portent
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Of the nature of or constituting a portent; foreboding: “The present aspect of society is portentous of great change” (Edward Bellamy).
- Full of unspecifiable significance; exciting wonder and awe: “Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity” (Herman Melville).
- Marked by pompousness; pretentiously weighty.
- por·tenˈtous·ly adverb
- por·tenˈtous·ness noun