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Borrowed from Latin portendere (to foretell), from por- (forward) + tendere (to stretch), present active infinitive of tendo.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɔːˈtɛnd/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /pɔɹˈtɛnd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


portend (third-person singular simple present portends, present participle portending, simple past and past participle portended)

  1. (transitive) To serve as a warning or omen of.
  2. (transitive) To signify; to denote.
    Let it be known that the Rapture portends the End of Days.
    • 1982 April 10, Jane Barnes, “Terror and Hope”, in Gay Community News, page 10:
      How alive these poems are with the visual specifics of what he so closely observes, how full of elegance, terror and hope. They portend a poet of major craft, of deep feeling, and of fine intelligence.
    • 2012 June 26, Genevieve Koski, “Music: Reviews: Justin Bieber: Believe”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 6 August 2020:
      When the staccato, Neptunes-ian single “Boyfriend” was released in March, musical prognosticators were quick to peg the album it portended, Believe, as Justin Bieber’s Justified, a grown-and-sexy, R&B-centric departure that evolved millennial teenybopper Justin Timberlake into one of the unifying pop-music figures of the aughts.


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