Definition of portend in English:



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

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


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