Baleful means the foreshadowing of tragic or evil events. If no one's listening in class and your teacher reprimands you with a baleful glance, expect a pop quiz.

If your car breaks down and you take refuge in a deserted mansion, you might huddle under a dusty blanket and find yourself thinking that the wind moaning at the windows sounds baleful — maybe it's really the voice of a young woman murdered in the very bed where you sleep?

Definitions of baleful

adj threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

“a baleful look”
forbidding, menacing, minacious, minatory, ominous, sinister, threatening
frightening because of an awareness of danger

adj deadly or sinister

“the Florida eagles have a fierce baleful look”
harmful or evil in intent or effect

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.