Definition of portend in English:



  • Be a sign or warning that (something, especially something momentous or calamitous) is likely to happen.

    ‘the eclipses portend some major events’
    • ‘The devaluation was recognized as more than a technical adjustment: it was a clear sign of French disengagement, portending withdrawal a year later.’
    • ‘Asian markets had come under heavy selling on Monday as investors portended a calamitous fall in the U.S. markets when they reopened after a four-day suspension.’
    • ‘So how can we say that eclipses portend anything about modern society?’
    • ‘Central to that order is the idea that events in the heavens - particularly lunar and solar eclipses - can alter or portend events on Earth.’
    • ‘Many will see the Asian disaster as portending the advent of doomsday.’
    • ‘If the article coming out on Saturday in Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, is accurate, it seems to me to portend significant difficulties ahead for the US.’
    • ‘Fushida became very excited by this natural phenomenon, viewing it as a mystical sign portending the success of the sneak attack.’
    • ‘But perhaps the dreadful birth defects and mutated plants are not evidence at all, but signs and wonders portending some great event.’
    • ‘But, the rapid growth of productive capacity in many places during the period portended a point when capital would face a problem of overaccumulation.’
    • ‘The retreat of the Government from public utility services, one after another, portends evil days for the common man.’
    • ‘The signs portending deflation are all-around for those who have eyes to see.’
    • ‘Officials said the season's first wildfires burned with an intensity usually not seen until late summer, portending an especially dangerous and costly summer.’
    • ‘It has been disturbing, certainly, to learn that there was substantial information that could have portended the events of 9 / 11.’
    • ‘He is comic but what he is saying portends the tragic event that is coming.’
    • ‘It portends the next evolutionary change in our political history - the demise of the parliamentary system.’
    • ‘Decisions have now been taken that portend events, probably within 48 hours, that will result in death and destruction.’
    • ‘That portends an even darker hour for investors whose savings have been mauled in the worst slump in global stock markets for 30 years.’
    • ‘These augurs now portend political consequences that may follow the economic upheaval.’
    • ‘In this issue, our cover story looks at CEOs in danger - and the warning signs that portend trouble.’
    • ‘Most significantly for Democrats, the election results may portend a backlash against the no-new-taxes mantra that's ruled the Capitol since Gov.’
    presage, augur, foreshadow, foretell, prophesy
    be a sign of, be a warning of, warn of, be an omen of, be an indication of, be a harbinger of
    indicate, herald, signal, bode, announce, promise, threaten, point to, mean, signify, spell, denote
    betoken, foretoken, forebode, harbinger
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin portendere, based on pro- forth + tendere stretch.