ominous clouds

threatening, menacing, baleful, forbidding, sinister, inauspicious, unpropitious, unfavorable, unpromising; portentous, foreboding, fateful, premonitory; black, dark, gloomy; formal minatory; literary direful; rare minacious
promising, auspicious
ominous, fateful, forbidding, foreboding, portentous, premonitory
A sky filled with low, dark clouds might look ominous, but it probably wouldn't be considered portentous, even though the root words omen and portent are nearly synonymous. What is ominous is usually threatening and may imply impending disaster (an ominous silence), while portentous is more often used to describe something that provokes awe or amazement (a portentous show of military strength) or a very important outcome (a portentous moment for the American people). Like ominous, foreboding implies that something evil is coming (foreboding words that sent shivers through us), while forbidding suggests an unfriendly or threatening appearance (a dark, forbidding castle). Fateful and premonitory are less frightening words. What is fateful appears to have been inevitable or decreed by fate, with an emphasis on decisive importance (a fateful meeting with her ex-boyfriend; a battle that would prove fateful). Anything that serves to warn beforehand is premonitory, whether or not the warning concerns something negative (a premonitory dream about her father's death; a premonitory feeling about the exam).

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.

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  • ominous — ominous, portentous, fateful, inauspicious, unpropitious basically mean having a menacing or threatening character or quality. What is ominous has or seems to have the character of an omen, especially of an omen forecasting evil; the term… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Ominous — Om i*nous, a. [L. ominosus, fr. omen. See {Omen}.] Of or pertaining to an omen or to omens; being or exhibiting an omen; significant; portentous; formerly used both in a favorable and unfavorable sense; now chiefly in the latter; foreboding or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ominous — [äm′ə nəs] adj. [L ominosus] of or serving as an omen; esp., having the character of an evil omen; threatening; sinister ominously adv. ominousness n. SYN. OMINOUS implies a threatening character but does not necessarily connote a disastrous… …   English World dictionary

  • ominous — I adjective adverse, alarming, augurial, auspicial, baleful, bodeful, dangerous, dark, depressing, dire, direful, disastrous, dismaying, dispiriting, disquieting, disturbing, divinatory, fatidic, fatidical, fear inspiring, fearful, forbidding,… …   Law dictionary

  • ominous — (adj.) 1580s, from L. ominosus full of foreboding, from omen (gen. ominis) foreboding (see OMEN (Cf. omen)). Related: Ominousness …   Etymology dictionary

  • ominous — [adj] menacing, foreboding apocalyptic, augural, baleful, baneful, clouded, dangerous, dark, dire, direful, dismal, doomed, doomful, fateful, fearful, forbidding, gloomy, grim, haunting, hostile, ill boding, ill fated, impending, inauspicious,… …   New thesaurus

  • ominous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ giving the worrying impression that something bad is going to happen. DERIVATIVES ominously adverb ominousness noun. ORIGIN Latin ominosus, from omen omen …   English terms dictionary

  • ominous — ominously, adv. ominousness, n. /om euh neuhs/, adj. 1. portending evil or harm; foreboding; threatening; inauspicious: an ominous bank of dark clouds. 2. having the significance of an omen. [1580 90; < L ominosus portentous, equiv. to omin (s.… …   Universalium

  • ominous — adjective Date: 1580 being or exhibiting an omen ; portentous; especially foreboding or foreshadowing evil ; inauspicious • ominously adverb • ominousness noun Synonyms: ominous, portentous, fateful mean havi …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ominous — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. inauspicious, bodeful, fateful. See warning, prediction, threat. Ant., unthreatening. II (Roget s IV) modif. Syn. foreboding, portentous, threatening, forbidding, fateful, baleful, menacing,… …   English dictionary for students

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