While you might love crows, your father will shudder when he sees them if he superstitiously believes they're a portent — a sign or warning — of death.

A portent is an omen of something momentous, which can be good, but is more often negative. You can use portent to mean a magical foretelling or symbol, but you can also use it to talk about something real, the way you could describe big, dark storm clouds as a portent of a thunderstorm.

Definitions of portent

n a sign of something about to happen

omen, presage, prodigy, prognostic, prognostication
a favorable omen
an unfavorable omen
death knell
an omen of death or destruction
Type of:
augury, foretoken, preindication, sign
an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

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