from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Menacing; threatening: ominous black clouds; ominous rumblings of discontent.
  • adj. Of or being an omen, especially an evil one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to an omen or to omens; being or exhibiting an omen; significant.
  • adj. Specifically, giving indication of a coming ill; being an evil omen; threatening; portentous; inauspicious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. 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 foreshowing evil; inauspicious.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Conveying some omen; serving as a sign or token; significant.
  • Of good omen; auspicious.
  • Of ill omen; giving indication of coming ill; portentous; inauspicious; unlucky.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. presaging ill fortune
  • adj. threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments


Latin ōminōsus, from ōmen, ōmin-, omen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ominosus ("full of foreboding"), from omen ("forebiden fruit, omen"), from os ("the mouth") + -men (Wiktionary)



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