Definition of presentiment in US English:



  • An intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding.

    ‘a presentiment of disaster’
    • ‘I never laughed at presentiments in my life, because I have had strange ones of my own.’
    • ‘These are the sort of tales one might hear while hanging around an English village where everyone has cable television and cell phones and lives off the tourist trade, and yet where old presentiments of the supernatural have lingered.’
    • ‘Immediately she had shut her eyes sensing some peculiar presentiment.’
    • ‘It is such a powerful presentiment of my own death that I begin to cry.’
    • ‘He enjoyed his time at school, although there was a presentiment of things to come when, in the summer of 1960, he was sent home for hosting a wine party in the grounds.’
    • ‘He doesn't notice his peers' fearful presentiments, or the sharp clatter of something falling onto the floor, shattering the silence.’
    • ‘For every person who, warned by a presentiment of catastrophe, turned back at the last minute from boarding a plane that was shortly to crash, thousands (by now) did not.’
    • ‘He hoped that we could meet some other time, but I had a presentiment that a future occasion may not be possible in this world.’
    • ‘But it wasn't only that vanished world they represented, but also the vanished happiness of my father's family; the faces smiling without any presentiment of their coming wartime doom.’
    • ‘A presentiment of unease enveloped me before I could find my seat at the rear of the plane.’
    • ‘Novelists know how to put vague presentiments into words.’
    • ‘Well, there were some presentiments of the rock 'n' roll destiny that beckoned.’
    • ‘Often Hou's images seem like presentiments of future memories rather than representations of present happenings.’
    • ‘Pip leaves the room, though returns a few minutes later on some odd presentiment.’
    • ‘But there was the tiniest presentiment of disaster.’
    • ‘But, although he thought of it as invalid, at the same time he felt it to be the expression of a true presentiment.’
    premonition, foreboding, intuition, feeling, hunch, suspicion, sneaking suspicion, feeling in one's bones, funny feeling, vague feeling, inkling, idea, sixth sense
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Early 18th century: from obsolete French présentiment.