Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “portentous”

See all translations

portentous

adjective uk   /pɔːˈten.təs/ us    /pɔːrˈten.t̬əs/
formal disapproving too serious and trying to be very important: The problem with the book is that it sometimes descends into portentous philosophizing. literary Portentous events, statements, or signs are important because they show that something unpleasant is very likely to happen: The report contains numerous portentous references to a future environmental calamity.
portentously
adverb uk   /-li/ formal disapproving us  
(Definition of portentous from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of portentous?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

advent calendar

a decorative piece of card, often hung on the wall, that has a small opening with a door for each of the days of the month before Christmas. Children open one of these doors each day, finding a picture under it.

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

tweleb noun

December 22, 2014
informal a Twitter celebrity; (more specifically, someone who has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter) There were a few old and a few new faces, including a tweleb or two. Expect to see and hear more from these cool kids.

Read More