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1. A phenomenon supposed to portend good or evil; a prophetic sign.
2. Prognostication; portent: birds of ill omen.
tr.v. o·mened, o·men·ing, o·mens
To be a prophetic sign of; portend.

[Latin ōmen.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a phenomenon or occurrence regarded as a sign of future happiness or disaster
2. prophetic significance
(tr) to portend
[C16: from Latin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈoʊ mən)
1. any event believed to portend something good or evil; augury; portent.
2. prophetic significance; presage.
3. to be an omen of; portend.
4. to divine, as if from omens.
[1575–85; < Latin]
syn: See sign.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



handwriting on the wall A portent or prophecy of disaster, a sign of impending and unavoidable doom, an indication or sense of what is to come; often the writing on the wall. The allusion is to the Book of Daniel in the Bible, in which a hand mysteriously appeared and wrote a message on Balshazzar’s palace wall foretelling his destruction and the loss of his kingdom.

my little finger told me that Pain or pleasurable sensation in the fingers was considered by the ancient Roman augurs a sign of evil or joy to come. The pricking of one’s thumb was considered a portent of evil.

By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes. (Shakespeare, Macbeth, IV, i)

Thus, one’s finger or thumb can be said to “tell” the future. Sometimes my little finger told me that is used to indicate that one has access to certain information, the source of which may be controversial and unscientific.

stormy petrel One whose arrival is seen as a harbinger of trouble. Stormy petrels (Procellaria pelágica) are the sea birds which sailors call Mother Carey’s chickens. Petrel is derived from the Italian Petrello ‘little Peter,’ in allusion to the way these birds appear to walk on the sea, just as St. Peter walked on the Lake of Gennesareth. Stormy petrels are most often observed just prior to and during a storm; thus, their arrival portends deteriorating weather conditions. The expression may now be applied to anyone whose coming is inevitably followed by disaster or tragedy.

Dr. von Esmarch is regarded at court as a stormy petrel, and every effort was made to conceal his visit to the German emperor. (The World, April, 1892)

See also Mother Carey is plucking her chickens, WEATHER.

weather breeder See WEATHER.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Past participle: omened
Gerund: omening

I omen
you omen
he/she/it omens
we omen
you omen
they omen
I omened
you omened
he/she/it omened
we omened
you omened
they omened
Present Continuous
I am omening
you are omening
he/she/it is omening
we are omening
you are omening
they are omening
Present Perfect
I have omened
you have omened
he/she/it has omened
we have omened
you have omened
they have omened
Past Continuous
I was omening
you were omening
he/she/it was omening
we were omening
you were omening
they were omening
Past Perfect
I had omened
you had omened
he/she/it had omened
we had omened
you had omened
they had omened
I will omen
you will omen
he/she/it will omen
we will omen
you will omen
they will omen
Future Perfect
I will have omened
you will have omened
he/she/it will have omened
we will have omened
you will have omened
they will have omened
Future Continuous
I will be omening
you will be omening
he/she/it will be omening
we will be omening
you will be omening
they will be omening
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been omening
you have been omening
he/she/it has been omening
we have been omening
you have been omening
they have been omening
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been omening
you will have been omening
he/she/it will have been omening
we will have been omening
you will have been omening
they will have been omening
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been omening
you had been omening
he/she/it had been omening
we had been omening
you had been omening
they had been omening
I would omen
you would omen
he/she/it would omen
we would omen
you would omen
they would omen
Past Conditional
I would have omened
you would have omened
he/she/it would have omened
we would have omened
you would have omened
they would have omened
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.omen - a sign of something about to happenomen - a sign of something about to happen; "he looked for an omen before going into battle"
augury, foretoken, preindication, sign - an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come; "he hoped it was an augury"; "it was a sign from God"
auspice - a favorable omen
foreboding - an unfavorable omen
death knell - an omen of death or destruction
Verb1.omen - indicate by signsomen - indicate by signs; "These signs bode bad news"
threaten - to be a menacing indication of something:"The clouds threaten rain"; "Danger threatens"
bespeak, betoken, indicate, signal, point - be a signal for or a symptom of; "These symptoms indicate a serious illness"; "Her behavior points to a severe neurosis"; "The economic indicators signal that the euro is undervalued"
foreshow - foretell by divine inspiration
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun portent, sign, warning, threat, indication, foreshadowing, foreboding, harbinger, presage, forewarning, writing on the wall, prognostication, augury, prognostic, foretoken Her appearance at this moment is an omen of disaster.
"May the gods avert this omen" [Cicero Third Philippic]
"omen: a sign that something will happen if nothing happens" [Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


A phenomenon that serves as a sign or warning of some future good or evil:
Idiom: writing on the wall.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
بَشير، نَذير، دلالَةٌ عَلى المُسْتَقْبَل
pranašiškas ženklas


[ˈəʊmen] Naugurio m, presagio m
it is a good omen thates un buen presagio que ...
bird of ill omenave f de mal agüero
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈəʊmɛn] nprésage m
a good omen → un bon présage
a bad omen → un mauvais présage
to be an omen of things to come
It was an omen of things to come → C'était un présage de ce qui allait arriver.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nOmen nt, → Zeichen nt; it is an omen of greatnessdas bedeutet Erfolg; a bird of ill omenein Unglücksvogel m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈəʊmən] npresagio, auspicio
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈəumən) noun
a sign of a future event. Long ago, storms were regarded as bad omens.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
A favorite topic with me was the popular belief in omens -- a belief which, at this one epoch of my life, I was almost seriously disposed to defend.
Partridge was in very high spirits during the whole way, and often mentioned to Jones the many good omens of his future success which had lately befriended him; and which the reader, without being the least superstitious, must allow to have been particularly fortunate.
The people wondered as they saw them, and asked each other what all this might be; whereon Halitherses, who was the best prophet and reader of omens among them, spoke to them plainly and in all honesty, saying:
800-801) On the fourth of the month bring home your bride, but choose the omens which are best for this business.
What, in opposition to all the omens that declared against him, made Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?
The men of Mycenae were willing to let them have one, but Jove dissuaded them by showing them unfavourable omens. Tydeus, therefore, and Polynices went their way.
Sometimes the household both among themselves and in his presence expressed their wonder at how it had all happened, and at the evident omens there had been of it: Prince Andrew's coming to Otradnoe and their coming to Petersburg, and the likeness between Natasha and Prince Andrew which her nurse had noticed on his first visit, and Andrew's encounter with Nicholas in 1805, and many other incidents betokening that it had to be.
And so the journey began with the good omens of sunshine, smiles, and cheerful words.
A CROW was jealous of the Raven, because he was considered a bird of good omen and always attracted the attention of men, who noted by his flight the good or evil course of future events.
Then Dorian looked at Lord Henry and said, with a heavy sigh, "It is a bad omen, Harry, a very bad omen."
Aye, sir, said Starbuck drawing near, 'tis a solemn sight; an omen, and an ill one.
She became so fantastically and pressingly earnest in her entreaties that we would walk up and see her apartment for an instant, and was so bent, in her harmless way, on leading me in, as part of the good omen she desired, that I (whatever the others might do) saw nothing for it but to comply.