If something looks or sounds ominous, be careful: a threat or an unpleasant event is at hand. If you see an ominous frown on your boss's face, you're in trouble!

Ominous, and the related word omen both come from the 16th century Latin word ōmen "foreboding." However, unlike omen, which is a sign of something good or bad to come, ominous always describes something unpleasant or threatening. If the future looks ominous, you've got nothing to look forward to. Figuratively, an ominous sky or ominous clouds promise rain or a storm.

Definitions of ominous
  1. adjective
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    ominous rumblings of discontent”
    synonyms: baleful, forbidding, menacing, minacious, minatory, sinister, threatening
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
  2. adjective
    presaging ill fortune
    “a dead and ominous silence prevailed”
    synonyms: ill, inauspicious
    not propitious
Word Family