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Portentous   Listen
adjective
Portentous  adj.  
1.
Of the nature of a portent; containing portents; foreshadowing, esp. foreshadowing ill; ominous. "For, I believe, they are portentous things." "Victories of strange and almost portentous splendor."
2.
Hence: Monstrous; prodigious; wonderful; dreadful; as, a beast of portentous size.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Portentous" Quotes from Famous Books



... spent his monotonous existence, riding hard and drinking obstinately, but never, even in the latter case, rising into conviviality. A long, bushy beard, and portentous mustache, grizzled, though he was scarcely past middle age, which could not conceal a deep sabre-scar, gave him a grim, sinister expression; and his voice had that brief imperious accent which is peculiar to men for many years used to ...
— Guy Livingstone; - or, 'Thorough' • George A. Lawrence

... on a stone and lit a cigarette. As soon as I had done it, it struck me as a puerile and portentous thing to do, with that great blind house looking down at me, and all the empty avenues converging on me. It may have been the depth of the silence that made me so conscious of my gesture. The squeak of my match sounded as loud as the scraping ...
— Kerfol - 1916 • Edith Wharton

... the first Italian campaign, almost as immediate and certainly more portentous, was the sudden personal fame of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the most talked-of man in France. The people applauded him. The government feared but flattered him. Schemers and plotters of every political faith sought his support. Alongside of decreasing ...
— A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. • Carlton J. H. Hayes

... awesome name to Penrod Schofield and Samuel Williams. Even Herman and Verman, though lacking many educational advantages on account of a long residence in the country, were informed on the subject of Rena Magsworth through hearsay, and they joined in the portentous silence. ...
— Penrod • Booth Tarkington

... horrid, hideous notes of woe, Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast, Is that portentous phrase, "I told you so," Uttered by friends, those prophets of the past, Who, 'stead of saying what you now should do, Own they foresaw that you would fall at last,[my] And solace your slight lapse 'gainst bonos mores, With a long memorandum ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... recalled, in which this expression of dislike had taken the form of threats, vague and purposeless, seemingly, at the time; but which now, taken in connection with what she gathered from the lips of the child, seemed of portentous interest. Then, when she understood that Stevens had sent a note in reply—and that both notes were sealed, the quick, feminine mind instantly ...
— Charlemont • W. Gilmore Simms

... no use interrupting him with questions; he answered them with others; he whispered ambiguities in a manner most portentous; hinted at bewildering paradoxes with an air; nodded mysterious nothings, and finally left them gaping at him, exasperated, unable to make any sense out of what most astonishingly resembled a candid revelation ...
— The Firing Line • Robert W. Chambers

... Socrates Smith an air of mystery, portentous and suggestive. He looked like one meditating a coup d'etat, or, perhaps, it might better be said, a coup de main, as the hand is with schoolmasters, generally, the instrument ...
— Hector's Inheritance - or The Boys of Smith Institute • Horatio Alger

... the fire that evening it was Bill Lightfoot who engaged his portentous interest. He listened to Bill's boastful remarks critically, cocking his head to one side and smiling ...
— Hidden Water • Dane Coolidge

... begged a morsel of bread and a cup of water for his wayworn child,—his final farewell to the Old World at the Canaries,—his entrance upon the trade winds, which then, for the first time, filled a European sail,—the portentous variation of the needle, never before observed, the fearful course westward and westward, day after day, and night after night, over the unknown ocean, the mutinous and ill-appeased crew; at length, when hope had turned to despair in every heart ...
— The American Union Speaker • John D. Philbrick

... now the full measure of his base rage, and her face grew pale and set. "You're making a perfect fool of yourself, Cliff," she said, with portentous calmness. ...
— The Forester's Daughter - A Romance of the Bear-Tooth Range • Hamlin Garland

... receipt of a communication in black borders so portentous that Dick, always alive to the comic side of everything, was moved for the moment to a profane laugh. "No mourning could ever be so deep as this looks," he said to himself, and opened the gloomy missive with little thought. It ...
— A Country Gentleman and his Family • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... man than this, that the central, the profoundest, the most portentous puzzle of the universe—the weal of woe of two high-aspiring, much-enduring, youthful human souls, should be the sport of what seems to him the veriest and ...
— Hints for Lovers • Arnold Haultain

... am surprised to find Mr Tanner named as joint guardian and trustee with myself of you and Rhoda. [A pause. They all look portentous; but they have nothing to say. Ramsden, a little ruffled by the lack of any response, continues] I don't know that I can consent to act under such conditions. Mr Tanner has, I understand, some objection also; but I do not profess to understand its nature: he will no doubt speak ...
— Man And Superman • George Bernard Shaw

... disposed to attribute any fear of Roman Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness. Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental principles of our government with those ...
— The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan • Ellen G. White

... certain undesirable applicants, but it could not prevent the going of Miss Perkins at the expense of the deluded, on ships that were common carriers, even though she were a common scold. There she was, portentous as the British Female portrayed by Thackeray. Backed by apparently abundant means and obviously indomitable "gall," she counted on carrying all before her by sheer force of her powers of self-assertion and the name of the Patriotic Daughters of America. But the commanding general ...
— Ray's Daughter - A Story of Manila • Charles King

... Populist returns. Democrats, with a clear majority of electoral votes, were not inclined to worry about local losses or to value incidental gains; and Republicans felt that the menace of the third party was much less portentous than it might have ...
— The Agrarian Crusade - A Chronicle of the Farmer in Politics • Solon J. Buck

... postboys, still the extraordinary excitement was unaccountable. It was only on reaching Bristol that I learned to what circumstance my popularity was owing. My friend Mike, in humble imitation of election practices, had posted a large placard on the back of the chaise, announcing, in letters of portentous length, ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 2 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... leaves overhead, breaking the silence with mysterious whisperings. Some portentous truth was seeking for admittance to my brain. I strove to reassure myself, but the sense of impending evil and of mystery became heavier. At last I could combat my strange fears no longer. I turned and began to run toward the south side ...
— The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu • Sax Rohmer

... old legends of what the Thames was in ancient times, when the Patent Shot Manufactory wasn't built, and Waterloo-bridge had never been thought of; and then they would shake their heads with portentous looks, to the deep edification of the rising generation of heavers, who crowded round them, and wondered where all this would end; whereat the tailor would take his pipe solemnly from his mouth, and say, ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... the least interesting, subject we have to notice is the birth of a "new star." This is an event which astronomers now announce every few years; and it is a far more portentous event than the reader imagines when it is reported in his daily paper. The story is much the same in all cases. We say that the star appeared in 1901, but you begin to realise the magnitude of the event when you learn that the distant "blaze" had really occurred about ...
— The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) - A Plain Story Simply Told • J. Arthur Thomson

... more Like to some dismal fire of bale Flaring portentous on a hill; Or torches lighted on a shore By wreckers in a midnight gale. No matter; be it as you will, Only go forward ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... Miss Reilly: it is my duty. I shall not detain you long. May I ask you to sit down. [He indicates her chair with oppressive solemnity. She sits down wondering. He then, with the same portentous gravity, places a chair for himself near her; sits down; and proceeds to explain]. First, Miss Reilly, may I say that I have tasted nothing of an ...
— John Bull's Other Island • George Bernard Shaw

... to attire ourselves in the garments disgorged from the portentous-looking bundle. They consist of a pair of black calico trousers, a dark, lapelled coat, a leathern semicircular apron, buckled on behind—the strap of which serves to hook a small lantern on in front—and a terrible brimless ...
— A Tramp's Wallet - stored by an English goldsmith during his wanderings in Germany and France • William Duthie

... was closed. The lock yielded. The door yawned soundlessly. A round, portentous eye glimmered on the opposite wall. An odor of recently wet paint and of new bed linen met him. The excited pulsing of ...
— Peter the Brazen - A Mystery Story of Modern China • George F. Worts

... the open air, with the body in constant exercise and the mind in fallow, knows true ease and quiet. The irritating action of the brain is set at rest; we think in a plain, unfeverish temper; little things seem big enough, and great things no longer portentous; and the world is smilingly accepted as ...
— The Pocket R.L.S. - Being Favourite Passages from the Works of Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... keep guard now. Jeb and you will have to ride down Top Notch Trail as fast as you can, and meet Simms who is coming up with Mrs. Brewster. Send Simms and the men on to help us, but you three women take Jeb and go right on down. There's a forest fire." Mr. Brewster added the last portentous ...
— Polly and Eleanor • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... allies, the Duke of Lorraine, the Count of Savoy, the Bishops of Liege, Metz, and Verdun, and nearly all the barons of Burgundy came and joined him. On the 27th of July, 1340, he received there from his rival a challenge of portentous length, the principal terms of which are set ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume II. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... gradually lessens, until finally there is not one left. The last dish is evidently taken from the china-closet, and the whole house is filled with that portentous stillness which causes the mothers of mischievous offspring ...
— Trifles for the Christmas Holidays • H. S. Armstrong

... lands; we shall close amidst the roar of cannon, and the wrath and rage of battle. Hume, who alludes to the engagement which we are going to describe, speaks of it in a tone which shows that he looked at it as something portentous and prodigious; as a thing to wonder at—but scarcely as deserving the admiration which we pay to actions properly within the scope of humanity—and as if the energy which was displayed in it was like the unnatural strength ...
— Froude's Essays in Literature and History - With Introduction by Hilaire Belloc • James Froude

... in business matters." Hildegarde wondered what was coming; her mother looked very grave; she held in her hand a square grey envelope. "I shall be greatly obliged, therefore, my dear," her mother continued, with the same portentous gravity, "if—you would—read that"; and she gave the letter ...
— Hildegarde's Neighbors • Laura E. Richards

... in the southern kingdom, and declares that only a remnant shall return. These men are in no doubt as to the impending political annihilation of Israel, and they set themselves to find some reason for an occurrence so portentous, so impossible to harmonise with ordinary religious faith. They account for it by a view of the nature of Jehovah far exalted above that of their people. He is punishing them for their iniquities, they say, he is so ...
— History of Religion - A Sketch of Primitive Religious Beliefs and Practices, and of the Origin and Character of the Great Systems • Allan Menzies

... amusement at all, particularly if triflings bring serious thoughts in their train and frivolous matters are so treated that a reader not altogether devoid of perception wins more profit from these than from the glittering and portentous arguments of certain persons—as when for instance one man eulogizes rhetoric or philosophy in a painfully stitched-together oration, another rehearses the praises of some prince, another urges us to begin a war with the Turks, another foretells the future, ...
— Erasmus and the Age of Reformation • Johan Huizinga

... tyranny begins'; nor have our departures from it been sanctioned by the happiness of their effects. A debt of an hundred millions growing by usurious interest, and an artificial paper phalanx overruling the agricultural mass of our country, with other et ceteras, have a portentous aspect. ...
— Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I • Thomas Jefferson

... terrified at these portentous signs, abandoned their undertaking and fled toward the shore. They were, however, intercepted by the people of AEgina, and some allies whom they had hastily summoned to their aid, and the whole party was destroyed except one single man. ...
— Darius the Great - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... oft, with anxious throes, Seek I sad relics, which no spot supplies!— A SILENCE—a fix'd HORROR sears my soul, Arrests my foot!—Dread DOOM of human crimes, What art thou?—Ye o'erwhelmed Cities, rise! That your terrific skeletons may scowl Portentous warning to succeeding Times! ...
— Original sonnets on various subjects; and odes paraphrased from Horace • Anna Seward

... Indians were still absent on their winter hunt, when, at the opening of spring, Dubuisson and his Frenchmen were startled by a portentous visitation. Two bands of Outagamies and Mascoutins, men, women, and children, counting in all above a thousand, of whom about three hundred were warriors, appeared on the meadows behind the fort, approached to within pistol-shot ...
— A Half Century of Conflict - Volume I - France and England in North America • Francis Parkman

... plague spot, while loudly crying for laws to correct comparatively harmless evils. The political parties depend too much upon the kings of the "Street" for the sinews of war in great campaigns, to lift a voice against it. The "Saloon" and the "Street," two colossal curses, cast their swart and portentous shadow over the palaces and hovels of a great nation, yet by virtue of their power, the Church and State, the clergy and the politicians, remain silent or temporize in their presence. The Republic needs ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 24, November, 1891 • Various

... the wind was now disturbed by a portentous sound: it was a quick and heavy knocking at the outer door. Pearson's wan countenance grew paler, for many a visit of persecution had taught him what to dread; the old man, on the other hand, stood up erect, and his glance ...
— Twice Told Tales • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... maintained. Dreadful pecuniary exhaustion caused the English energy to droop; and that critical opening La Pucelle used with a corresponding felicity of audacity and suddenness (that were in themselves portentous) for introducing the wedge of French native resources, for rekindling the national pride, and for planting the Dauphin once more upon his feet. When Joanna appeared, he had been on the point of giving up the struggle with the English, distressed as they were, ...
— Miscellaneous Essays • Thomas de Quincey

... government, is capable of a great war. None of the ancient regular governments have wherewithal to fight abroad with a foreign foe, and at home to overcome repining, reluctance, and chicane. It must be some portentous thing, like regicide France, that can exhibit such a prodigy. Yet even she, the mother of monsters, more prolific than the country of old called Ferax monstrorum, shows symptoms of being almost effete already; and she will be so, unless ...
— Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke. • Edmund Burke

... that have been preeminent for literature and art—the so-called classical ages—and thus his sense of historical perspective has been impaired. When Mr. Freeman uses Gregory of Tours as a text-book, he shows that he realizes how an epoch may be none the less portentous though it has not had a Tacitus to describe it, and certainly no part of history is more full of human interest than the troubled period in which the powerful streams of Teutonic life pouring into Roman Europe were curbed in their destructiveness ...
— The Beginnings of New England - Or the Puritan Theocracy in its Relations to Civil and Religious Liberty • John Fiske

... up to some devil"—(sly, but awfully emphatic nudge from Grandma) "ahem! we're all born under a cuss!" persisted Grandpa, with irate satisfaction. "I've steered through a good many oceans," he continued, more softly, "but thar' ain't none so—misty—as this—a—" (portentous nudge from Grandma,) "as this pesky ocean of Life! We've got to keep a sharp look-out" (another nudge from Grandma), "ahem, steer clear of the rocks," (persistent nudges from Grandma), "ahem! ahem! trust in God ...
— Cape Cod Folks • Sarah P. McLean Greene

... the future Admiral entered the Naval Academy at a stirring period in the history of our country, over which the coming Civil War already cast its awful shadow, and, as the months and years passed, the shadow darkened and grew more portentous until the red lightning rent the clouds apart and they rained blood and fire and ...
— Dewey and Other Naval Commanders • Edward S. Ellis

... hear, amid the hush, The restless current's rush, The Neva murmuring through his crystal zone: A voice portentous, deep, To charm a monarch's sleep With dreams of ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864 • Various

... and sends the seven sages to make the formal request for Parvati's hand. The seven sages fly to the brilliant city of Himalaya, where they are received by the mountain god. After a rather portentous interchange of compliments, the seven sages announce their errand, requesting Parvati's hand in behalf of Shiva. The father joyfully assents, and it is agreed that the marriage shall be celebrated after three days. These three days are spent ...
— Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works • Kaalidaasa

... "thinkin' 'bout sunthin' else." In fact, he was possessed by portentous uneasiness. There was well-defined doubt in his mind regarding his reception at the Jack-o'-Lantern. Dorothy's parting words had been plain—almost to the point of rudeness, he reflected, unhappily, and he was not sure that "a brute" would be ...
— At the Sign of the Jack O'Lantern • Myrtle Reed

... former was closed, and nothing was stirring around it that indicated business. I paused a long time before I ventured to proceed, for I looked upon this first aspect of things as portentous of evil; but recollecting myself, I remembered that it was the Sheb-i-Jumah, the Friday eve, and that probably my father, in his old age, had grown to be too scrupulous a Mussulman to work during those hours which true believers ought to ...
— The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan • James Morier

... cause of friction and misunderstanding a system has now been almost generally adopted of giving classical names to Martian markings. Some of these are of portentous length and strange spelling, but still the adoption of a uniform nomenclature has been a great convenience to observers and others who have occasion to use ...
— To Mars via The Moon - An Astronomical Story • Mark Wicks

... in a nook, An' at his lordship steal't a look, Like some portentous omen; Except good sense and social glee, An' (what surpris'd me) modesty, I marked ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... was who suffered; and he blamed himself. His wife, by dint of constant repetition, had inoculated him with her own belief in herself. Ideas are contagious in a household; the ninth thermidor, like so many other portentous events, was the result of female influence. Thus, goaded by Celestine's ambition, Rabourdin had long considered the means of satisfying it, though he hid his hopes, so as to spare her the tortures of uncertainty. The man was firmly resolved ...
— Bureaucracy • Honore de Balzac

... allegories are very nice, but he is not to be envied who has to invent them; much labour and ingenuity will be required of him; and when he has once begun, he must go on and rehabilitate Hippocentaurs and chimeras dire. Gorgons and winged steeds flow in apace, and numberless other inconceivable and portentous natures. And if he is sceptical about them, and would fain reduce them one after another to the rules of probability, this sort of crude philosophy will take up a great deal of time. Now I have no leisure for such enquiries; shall I ...
— Phaedrus • Plato

... tell you this is somehow becoming strangely portentous. I've got the funniest sensation that something is going ...
— The Green Mouse • Robert W. Chambers

... aspect of the scene was indeed portentous. The chimera had become a very visible bristling reality. There stood the bridge which the citizens had ridiculed while it was growing before their faces. There scowled the Kowenstyn—black with cannon, covered all over with fortresses which the butchers had so sedulously ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... only the man of the hour to his own people; in him the Man who has been wanted for forty years has been found. Being somewhat over forty years of age, he was born in those portentous times towards the end of the sixth decade of the last century when the political horizon of the Republic was darkening and showing symptoms of the coming Civil War. Virginia, his native State, was the most populous and wealthy ...
— From Slave to College President - Being the Life Story of Booker T. Washington • Godfrey Holden Pike

... man, lame on a Sofa, I did love, and do; he is an exception, could I have seen much of him. But on the whole Universal Puseyism seemed to me the humor of German, especially of Berlin thinkers;—and I had some quite portentous specimens of that kind,—unconscious specimens of four hundred quack power! Truly and really the Prussian Soldiers, with their intelligent silence, with the touches of effective Spartanism I saw or fancied in them, were the class of people that pleased me best. But see, my sheet is out! I am ...
— The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Vol II. • Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson

... were within a few hundred yards of Mejia's left flank. It was really a charge in line, albeit a very broken line, every man riding as hard as he could and fighting for his own land. All were armed with spears, the longest, as I afterward learned, being wielded by Colombian gauchos. These portentous weapons, fully fourteen feet long, were held in both hands, the reins being meanwhile placed on the knees, and the horses guided by voice and spur. The Spaniards seemed terribly afraid of them, as well they might be, for ...
— Mr. Fortescue • William Westall

... taken in, at bedtime, to kiss their father and say good-night, there was something portentous in the stillness there; in the look of the sick man, raised high against the pillows, and turning his eyes wistfully toward them, with no slightest movement of the head; in the waiting aspect of all things,—the ...
— Real Folks • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... but complete summary of all that he and Mr. Portlethorpe had just talked over. "You now see how matters are," he concluded, at the end of his epitome, during his delivery of which the lady had gradually grown more and more portentous of countenance. ...
— Dead Men's Money • J. S. Fletcher

... Street, betook ourselves by way of Mitre Court to King's Bench Walk. There, when the coffee had been requisitioned and our chairs drawn up around the fire, Mr. Marchmont unloaded from his bag a portentous bundle of papers, and we addressed ourselves to the ...
— The Mystery of 31 New Inn • R. Austin Freeman

... where they have turned up," said a very big man with spectacles—a big man in more ways than one. And a note went down in red ink in a particular page of a huge index, to appear duly printed in the next edition of that portentous volume. Only, after the ...
— Letters from France • C. E. W. Bean

... much struck with this apparent anomaly—for to them, anything in the civilian's garb to come near an officer, and that officer a naval one, was hardly less than portentous, and argued the said civilian to be something belonging to the genus homo extraordinary—and the fat specimen in the boat with the port-admiral, they thought, was one of the lords of the Admiralty, or even Mr Croker himself—the ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... own troubles quite forgotten in the consideration of Sally's lot. All that evening, and even during his work on the following morning, he pondered over it, and it was with a portentous face that he betook himself at noon to the trysting-place. So punctual was he that he stood there for some minutes before a musical cry of "Cockles! fine cockles!" came ringing down the lane, and presently Sally ...
— North, South and Over the Sea • M.E. Francis (Mrs. Francis Blundell)

... ecclesiastical authority of France had sold itself, like Ahab of old, to work wickedness; or, as the apostle says, "to work all uncleanness with greediness." In an age so characterized, it does not seem at all improbable that portentous events should from time to time occur; that the servants of the devil should be strengthened together with their master; that many should be given over to strong delusions and to believe a lie; and ...
— The Phantom World - or, The philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c, &c. • Augustin Calmet

... Tuesday, the fourth of September, the crew of Ribaut's flag-ship, anchored on the still sea outside the bar, saw a huge hulk, grim with the throats of cannon, drifting towards them through the gloom; and from its stern rolled on the sluggish air the portentous ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, August, 1863, No. 70 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics • Various

... Sire?" I cried. My heart beat quickly, and my pulses throbbed with the suspense of that portentous moment. ...
— Bardelys the Magnificent • Rafael Sabatini

... and to exhibit the glory of their house. To the first-born, Piero, came the great inheritance of his father's place and power, and no man ever entered into a greater possession,—a possession, so firm, so unquestioned and so portentous, that nothing seemed likely to disturb its equilibrium or ...
— The Tragedies of the Medici • Edgcumbe Staley

... vengeance is horrible. Yet why? Has not love become devilish? Is not life a curse? Then wherefore shrink? The resolute wronged woman must go through with it. And when the last hour comes, nature itself is portentous of the virulent ill. In the wind's wake, the moon flies through a rack of night clouds. One after one the suppliants crave pardon for the distant dying lover, and last of ...
— Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1883 • T. Hall Caine

... she said, almost fiercely; "I've been married thirteen years and I've lost that fear of men's portentous judgments which all girls outgrow one day. And do you think I am going to acquiesce in this attitude of yours toward life? Do you think I can't distinguish between a tragical mistake and a mistaken tragedy? I tell you ...
— The Younger Set • Robert W. Chambers

... not the victor, and had contributed little to the portentous change between the dismissal of Necker and the despatch of the fleet messenger with his recall. Whilst the deputies served the national cause by talking, there were plainer men at Paris who had died for it. The force that risked life and conquered was not at Versailles. It ...
— Lectures on the French Revolution • John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

... portentous, and a thing of state That here at midnight, in our little town A mourning figure walks, and will not rest, Near the old court-house pacing up ...
— The Second Book of Modern Verse • Jessie B. Rittenhouse

... all those guns and things in the whale-boat astern, to say nothing of the provisions in the lockers, I think it would be best if I got down and slept in her. I don't like the looks" (here he dropped his voice to a portentous whisper) "of these black gentry; they have such a wonderful thievish way about them. Supposing now that some of them were to slip into the boat at night and cut the cable, and make off with her? That would be a ...
— She • H. Rider Haggard

... Lady Aylmer's manner and words to Clara became much less courteous than they had been before. She would always speak as though some great iniquity was being committed, and went about the house with a portentous frown, as though some terrible measure must soon be taken with the object of putting an end to the present extremely improper state of things. All this was so manifest to Clara, that she said to Sir Anthony one day that she could no longer bear the look ...
— The Belton Estate • Anthony Trollope

... is typified by a woman in tra- vail, waiting to be delivered of her sweet promise, but re- membering no more her sorrow for joy that 562:27 the birth goes on; for great is the idea, and the travail portentous. ...
— Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures • Mary Baker Eddy

... her house, I noticed many Americans, as well as many Mexicans, on the streets. They were standing together, too; and there was something in their faces, and in the way their arms were carried, which was very striking and portentous. I fancied they looked coldly on me, and I was troubled by the circumstance. In the Plaza I saw the military band approaching, accompanied by half a dozen officers and a few soldiers. The noise stopped suddenly, and Captain Morello proclaimed as a bando (edict) of the highest authority, ...
— Remember the Alamo • Amelia E. Barr

... Daniel Bartoli is a story of love and loss, admirable in its presentation of the heroine and the unheroic hero. We are interested in Francis Furini, "good priest, good man, good painter," before he begins to preach his somewhat portentous sermon on evolution. And in the case of Christopher Smart, the question why once and only once he was a divinely inspired singer is the question which most directly leads to a disclosure of his character as a poet. ...
— Robert Browning • Edward Dowden

... and cut off the power. But the pony's suspicions had been thoroughly aroused, and the sudden silence seemed to him more portentous than even the noise of the motor. Smythe thereupon had his work cut out for him, but he would not compromise either by dismounting, or by turning and riding away. Slowly and patiently he urged the frightened pony toward the automobile until, after many setbacks ...
— The Heart of Thunder Mountain • Edfrid A. Bingham

... From the distinctness with which they were seen, it was judged that the furthest could not have been many miles distant. In some they imagined they could trace the spiral motion of the water as it was drawn up to the clouds, which were every moment being augmented in their portentous darkness. The sense of personal danger, Mr Ellis confesses, and the certainty of instant destruction if brought within their vortex, prevented a very careful observation of their appearance ...
— The Ocean and its Wonders • R.M. Ballantyne

... half-tone reproduction of a photograph of Paul Dresser, the only less celebrated brother of Theodore Dreiser, with a short biography of the composer of On the Banks of the Wabash. As Sir George Grove in his excellent dictionary neglected to mention this portentous name in American Art and Letters (although he devoted sixty-seven pages, printed in double columns, to Mendelssohn) I saw the advantage of adding the little book to my collection. The bookseller, when questioned, offered to relinquish ...
— The Merry-Go-Round • Carl Van Vechten

... delicacies of the occasion was too natural to be remarked upon here; but it connects itself with an habitual aversion for the paraphernalia of death, which was a marked peculiarity of Mr. Browning's nature. He shrank, as his wife had done, from the 'earth side' of the portentous change; but truth compels me to own that her infinite pity had little or no part in his attitude towards it. For him, a body from which the soul had passed, held nothing of the person whose earthly vesture it had been. He had no sympathy for the still human tenderness with which ...
— Life and Letters of Robert Browning • Mrs. Sutherland Orr

... what seemed like an eternity of watching, the lagging dawn came slowly oozing out of the scowling east, revealing a sky of portentous gloom, of a deep, slatey-purple tint, blotched with shreds of flying dirty-white vapour, and a sea that was positively appalling in its height and steepness, and the fury with which it ran. Yet, heavy as was the sea, and swiftly ...
— The Castaways • Harry Collingwood

... remarkable thinker at the valuation that has now pretty well come to be established. The former were half-distraught between the desire to "cut" him and the difficulty of finding a crevice for their shears; and when a volume on this or that portentous subject was proposed to the latter they suggested alternative titles which, as reported to our friend, brought into his face the noble blank melancholy that sometimes made it handsome. The title of an unwritten book didn't after ...
— The Coxon Fund • Henry James

... came back and revealed themselves. I judged it best to resign. The way of it was this. My employer sent for me one morning tolerably early, and, as soon as I had finished inserting some conundrums clandestinely into his last great speech upon finance, I entered the presence. There was something portentous in his appearance. His cravat was untied, his hair was in a state of disorder, and his countenance bore about it the signs of a suppressed storm. He held a package of letters in his tense grasp, and I knew that the dreaded Pacific mail ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... upon anointed princes, to convert their kingdoms into a hell the surest means of winning Heaven for themselves. It was not strange that the conjunction of two such wonders of superstition in one sphere should have seemed portentous in the eyes of the English nation. Philip's mock efforts in favor of certain condemned reformers, and his pretended intercessions in favor of the Princess Elizabeth, failed entirely of their object. The parliament refused to confer upon him more than a nominal authority in England. His children, ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... desert. It made my head heavy and made me feel languid, but did not affect my chest at all. To-day is a soft gray day; there was a little thunder this morning and a few, very few, drops of rain—hardly enough for even Herodotus to consider portentous. My donkey came down last night, and I tried him to-day, and he is very satisfactory though alarmingly small, as the real Egyptian donkey always is; the big ones are from the Hejaz. But it is wonderful how the little creatures run along under one as easy as possible, ...
— Letters from Egypt • Lucie Duff Gordon

... horrid, hideous notes of woe, Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast, Is that portentous phrase, 'I told you so,' Utter'd by friends, those prophets of the past, Who, 'stead of saying what you now should do, Own they foresaw that you would fall at last, And solace your slight lapse 'gainst 'bonos mores,' With a ...
— My Recollections of Lord Byron • Teresa Guiccioli

... beautiful as any that nature offers to the human eye. She was poised, so to speak, on the shoulder of Lost Mountain, a spot made cheerful and hospitable by her father's industry, and by her own inspiring presence. The scene, indeed, was almost portentous in its beauty. Away above her the summit of the mountain was bathed in sunlight, while in the valley below the shadows of dawn were still hovering—a slow-moving sea of transparent gray, touched here and there with silvery reflections ...
— Free Joe and Other Georgian Sketches • Joel Chandler Harris

... another and another. Birds flew shrieking through the air. Even the river animals swam uneasily along the banks, or peered out of their holes, as if nature had communicated to them, also, the terrible alarm; while, like the roar of a cataract,—dull, heavy, portentous,—the wrath of the flames ...
— How Deacon Tubman and Parson Whitney Kept New Year's - And Other Stories • W. H. H. Murray

... the aid of the Patriots and their policy the portentous story of Captain Jenkins and his ear. Captain Jenkins had sailed on board his vessel, the Rebecca, from Jamaica for London, and off the coast of Havana he was boarded by a revenue-cutter of Spain, which proceeded to subject him and his vessel to the right of search. Jenkins declared that ...
— A History of the Four Georges, Volume II (of 4) • Justin McCarthy

... The portentous omens so often relied on by the credulous believers in signs, have so frequently proved 'dead failures,' that one would suppose these votaries would at length become disheartened. But this seems not to be the case—like ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No IV, April 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... on the main-mast of the schooner, where the warrior was still engaged in attaching the portentous flag. The gunner, who held the match, obeyed the silent signal of his captain; and the massive iron was heard rushing past the officers, bound on its murderous mission. A moment or two of intense anxiety elapsed; and ...
— Wacousta: A Tale of the Pontiac Conspiracy (Complete) • John Richardson

... the Imperial cause in war-begrimed Mexico; they went to Cuba, Australia, Egypt, and to Europe. Second, those who returned to their homes after the "affair at Appomattox," and sitting down under the portentous clouds of defeat, refused to take any part in the rehabilitation of their States. Third, those who accepted the situation and stood ready to aid in ...
— History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. Vol. 2 (of 2) - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George Washington Williams

... unpleasant, when it was my design to leave my canoe at once, to tie it up to a post, and to go off to another place, "for," I told him, "I am here to think about Peace, and to see if She can be found." When I said this his face became moody, and, as though such portentous thoughts required action to balance them, he strained his line, lifted his float smartly from the water (so that I saw the hook flying through the air with a quarter of a worm upon it), and brought it down far up the stream. Then he let it go slowly down again as the ...
— On Nothing & Kindred Subjects • Hilaire Belloc

... with portentous gravity, "justice first, mercy later. Do you solemnly swear you heard ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... revelation. At times a subdued light has filled the broad arch of heaven, and, later, a fringe of rain has moved gently across the low hills and fallow fields, rippling like a wave from that upper sea which hangs invisible in golden weather, but becomes portentous and vast as the nether seas when the clouds gather and the celestial watercourses are unlocked. One day I thought I saw signs of a falling out between the conspirators, and I set myself to watch for some disclosure which ...
— Under the Trees and Elsewhere • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... in clouds of smoke and dust, With sword-sway and with lance's thrust; And such a yell was there, Of sudden and portentous birth, As if men fought in upper earth, And ...
— Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field • Walter Scott

... admittedly for display. But the Liszt Ballade is so empty, so pretentious, so affected! One expects that something is about to occur, but it never comes. There are the usual chromatic modulations leading nowhere and the usual portentous roll in the bass. The composition works up to as much silly display as ever indulged in by Thalberg. My pianist splashed and spluttered, played chord-work straight from the shoulder, and when he had finished he cried out, "There is a dramatic close ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... accused and to suffer death were now the same thing; and another eminent victim of the policy of the English Tiberius displayed in a novel and truly portentous manner his utter despair of the justice of the country and the mercy of ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... he would be condemned, for mediaevalism dies hard in Spain. But the incident was portentous, and the Archbishop and his keen secretary heard in ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... you suppose possessed that boy to shoot at a cook?" she asked, regarding the letter with a portentous frown. "Cooks are so awful hard to get nowadays. I don't see why he didn't shoot a tramp if he ...
— The Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary • Anne Warner

... repair the waste of the human frame. It is a fuel easily combustible in the visceral grate of the stomach. The mutton-eater is eupeptic. His dreams are airy and lightsome. Somnus descends smiling to his nocturnal pillow, and not clad in the portentous panoply of indigestion, which rivals a guilty conscience in its night visions. The mutton department of Quincy Market is all ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866 • Various

... the glow of happiness which had taken him down to Westminster with the bearing of a young man, felt occasional little shivers of doubt as he leaned back in his seat during the intervals of a brief but portentous debate and let his mind wander back to that short hour when he seemed to have emptied out all the hidden yearnings which had been lurking in the dark corners of his heart and soul. His love for Jane had no longer the boyish characteristics of a vague worship. He made no further pretences to himself. ...
— Nobody's Man • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... Ferriby had again made himself clear was sufficiently indicated by the fact that Major White nodded his head at this juncture with portentous gravity and wisdom. ...
— Roden's Corner • Henry Seton Merriman

... and fetched a piece of cane, and a minute later on the salt-white sand in face of orthography and the sun appeared these portentous letters: ...
— The Blue Lagoon - A Romance • H. de Vere Stacpoole

... and many weeks of constrained silence passed before I received the promised letter from Captain Wentworth—so gloomy, so incomprehensible, so portentous, that it filled me with despair. In this letter he spoke of obstacles between us—in which blood bore part—of the wreck of all earthly happiness for him—perchance for me. Yet he conjured me to be calm and patient, as he could not be, and alluded to my silence as conclusive of his misery. ...
— Miriam Monfort - A Novel • Catherine A. Warfield

... of Louis XIV., full of glories and misfortunes for France, was marked towards its close by a portentous sign indicative of corrupt manners and a falling state. Among these, the crimes of secret poisoning suddenly attained a magnitude which filled the whole nation with ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... with the novelties of the day. Some of the professors have not been unwilling to co-operate, and I am not sure even that the publishers have been entirely inert. 'The new psychology' has thus become a term to conjure up portentous ideas withal; and you teachers, docile and receptive and aspiring as many of you are, have been plunged in an atmosphere of vague talk about our science, which to a great extent has been more mystifying than enlightening. ...
— Talks To Teachers On Psychology; And To Students On Some Of Life's Ideals • William James

... road in the gray of a morning overcast with clouds and portentous of a storm. At the last moment, their host, with an eye upon the weather (and another upon Markham's hidden wallet), had sought to keep them until the skies were more propitious. But they were not to be dissuaded and trudged off briskly, Monsieur Duchanel and Madam Bordier accompanying ...
— Madcap • George Gibbs

... self-satisfied George took himself off to the mill, and all day long thought much of his mother's advice, and somehow he felt himself being impelled towards paying another visit to Bourhill. Out of that visit arose portentous issues, which were to have the strongest possible influence upon the future of Gladys Graham. He found her in a lonely and impressionable mood, and left the house, to his own profound astonishment, ...
— The Guinea Stamp - A Tale of Modern Glasgow • Annie S. Swan

... to count the coins that came from his little money-bags; the shadow of her hood upon the great beams grew more portentous. ...
— Privy Seal - His Last Venture • Ford Madox Ford

... of many open-air rehearsals, transferred, when the weather grew colder, to Willie Giertz's, where there were no near neighbors to whom the portentous secret might leak out. There was not one defective voice in the class save Harry's, and he was at first a puzzle; but that difficulty vanished when it was learned that his fondest ambition was satisfied by striking the tuning-fork. ...
— Stories Worth Rereading • Various

... considerations that his present attention was charged—they perfectly availed to make what he saw portentous. He couldn't, by any lapse, have blocked that aperture; and if he hadn't, if it was unthinkable, why what else was clear but that there had been another agent? Another agent?—he had been catching, as he felt, a moment back, ...
— The Jolly Corner • Henry James

... the house; noises were heard in various places, sounds of footsteps pacing, and of a long robe sweeping about the passages; and Lady Mary's costumes, and the head-dress which was so peculiar, which all her friends had recognized in Connie's description, grew into something portentous under the heavier hand of the foot-boy and the kitchen-maid. Mrs. Prentiss, who had remained, as a special favor to the new people, was deeply indignant and outraged by this treatment of her mistress. She appealed to Mary with mingled ...
— Old Lady Mary - A Story of the Seen and the Unseen • Margaret O. (Wilson) Oliphant

... to heart, I should say a better kind than that of those miserable Syrian Sects, with their vain janglings about Homoiousion and Homoousion, the head full of worthless noise, the heart empty and dead! The truth of it is embedded in portentous error and falsehood; but the truth of it makes it be believed, not the falsehood: it succeeded by its truth. A bastard kind of Christianity, but a living kind; with a heart-life in it: not dead, chopping barren ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... was a portentous proceeding and one not to be lightly gone about. Sophronia, who was a Methodist by descent and early confirmation, was of the opinion that the child should have a ...
— The Depot Master • Joseph C. Lincoln

... of Science that these little "scientists" built and are yet building is so wonderful, so portentous, so full of mysterious half-shapen promises for the mighty future of man! They do not seem to realise the things they are doing! No doubt long ago even Mr. Bensington, when he chose this calling, when he consecrated his life to the alkaloids and their kindred compounds, ...
— The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth • H.G. Wells

... secret from him. Sarrasin was good at most things, but he was not happy at concealing secrets from his friends. Even as it was he blinked his eyes at Hamilton in a way that, if the others were observing him just then, must have made it apparent that he was in possession of some portentous communication which could be divulged to Hamilton alone. Sir Rupert, however, was ...
— The Dictator • Justin McCarthy

... Blanton reappeared to the public eye, the white vest could no longer be buttoned over his expanding importance and beads of portentous dignity ...
— The Winning of Barbara Worth • Harold B Wright

... commenced its accustomed blows upon the floor. After they had mutually promised to conceal what they had seen, they again closed the Tower, and blocked up the gate of the Cavern with earth, that no memory might remain in the world of such a portentous and evil-boding prodigy. The ensuing midnight, they heard great cries and clamour from the Cave, resounding like the noise of Battle, and the ground shaking with a tremendous roar; the whole edifice of the old Tower fell to the ground, by which they were greatly affrighted, ...
— Some Poems by Sir Walter Scott • Sir Walter Scott

... warm when my friend the Mate appeared on deck in all the splendour of "shore gear." He affects a material which never wears out. "Mr. McAlnwick, these here are the pants I was married in!" He reserves his serious thoughts for underwear, of which he carries a portentous quantity to last a voyage. Smart young cadets, who never wear the same collar twice, and sport white shirts and soiled souls in seamen's missions, are the Mate's aversion. He has severe censures for "gallivantin'" and "dressin' for show." He approves of my own staid habits of life, ...
— An Ocean Tramp • William McFee

... purport. When I can find any one coming your way I have a volume for you, my Elias collected. Tell Poole, his Cockney in the Lon. Mag. tickled me exceedingly. Harwood is to be with us this evening with Fanny, who comes to introduce a literary lady, who wants to see me,—and whose portentous name is Plura, in English "many things." Now, of all God's creatures, I detest letters-affecting, authors-hunting ladies. But Fanny "will have it so." So Miss Many Things and I are to have a conference, of which you ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb (Vol. 6) - Letters 1821-1842 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... of Conrad is undoubtedly finely imagined; as the painters would say, it is in the highest style of art, and brought out with sublime effect; but still it is only another phase of the same portentous meteor, that was nebulous in Childe Harold, and fiery in The Giaour. To the safe and shop-resorting inhabitants of Christendom, The Corsair seems to present many improbabilities; nevertheless, it ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... the Axe," he said, addressing Umslopogaas, who stood silent leaning on his weapon and watching all, a portentous figure in the morning mist, "O Father, O Son of the Heavens" (this was an allusion to the royal blood of Umslopogaas of which the secret was well known, although it would never have been spoken aloud in Zululand), "O Slaughterer (Bulalio), O Woodpecker who picks at the hearts of men; O King-Slayer; ...
— She and Allan • H. Rider Haggard

... trammelled by the opinions of the multitude. We cannot conceive that, with a faculty so highly imaginative, he could long have continued an unbeliever; or, perhaps, that he could ever have been so in his heart. But he is a portentous example of the dangers to which an inexperienced youth, highly gifted by nature, is exposed, when thrown into the midst of greedy speculators, intent only on availing themselves of his resources for their own advantage, and without any care for ...
— Lives of the English Poets - From Johnson to Kirke White, Designed as a Continuation of - Johnson's Lives • Henry Francis Cary

... Examiner unfortunately—reported the inquest, and people had to make the most of those meagre paragraphs—until the Mercury came out, when fuller and less considerate details might be hoped for. The whispering, the nodding, the screwing up of lips, the portentous frowning and the shaking of heads—no such ...
— Denzil Quarrier • George Gissing

... Multon" at the Union Square, and we were fast settling down to our steady, regular gait, having got over the false starts and breaks and nervous shyings of the opening performance, when another missive of portentous bulk reached me. ...
— Stage Confidences • Clara Morris

... brought down a beautiful cock-pheasant, and was exulting over it, when the farmer's portentous figure burst upon them, cracking an avenging ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... up-steams The Boreal fire's portentous glare, And, bursting into arrowy streams, Hurls ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 26, December, 1859 • Various

... "Nullification," he adds, "portentous and fatal as it is to the prospects and welfare of this Union, is not the only instrument of Southern domination wielded by the executive arm at Washington. The dismemberment of our neighboring republic ...
— Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams. • Josiah Quincy

... wandering about. Some stood and stared at the ruins of their recent homes; others guarded the little they had saved; while still more were on the roadside looking toward the region of the north, from whence came all those portentous ...
— The Big Five Motorcycle Boys on the Battle Line - Or, With the Allies in France • Ralph Marlow

... cigar. On emerging from her bag, a circle formed about her, and she was graciously pleased to dance for us, no one venturing to join her. As she was fat and scant o' breath, [26] her performance, was characterized by portentous deliberation, precision, and dignity, and was as palpably agreeable to her as ...
— The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon From Ifugao to Kalinga • Cornelis De Witt Willcox

... zigzagged down from the soft gray above, obscuring and softening the landscape, rendering dear and mysterious the commonest things. Then sounds came, subdued as in a sanctuary, and people approaching showed portentous as through a mist, and the boys, looking upward, caught big wet flakes on their lashes as they tried in vain to determine the point at which the snowflakes became visible. There existed no such point. The snowflakes ...
— The Adventures of Bobby Orde • Stewart Edward White

... all that, the moral effect of Alaric's capture of Rome was portentous, and shook the very foundations of civilization throughout the world. To Jerome, in his cell at Bethlehem, the tidings came like the shock of an earthquake. Augustine, as he penned his 'De Civitate Dei,' felt the ...
— Early Britain—Roman Britain • Edward Conybeare

... fist, which whistled through the air like a sling, and the portentous mass fell with a smothered crash on the insulter's skull and crushed it. The man fell like an ox beneath the poleaxe. His companions, horror-struck, could neither move nor ...
— Twenty Years After • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... their figures I am not qualified to speak; and if you would ask me that which I remember chiefly of the noble gentlemen who were present, I can say with conscience, that beyond their stars and ribbons, I was only stricken by their monstrous and portentous Periwigs, which towered in the candle-light like so many great tufts of plumage atop of the Pope's Baldaquin, which I have seen so many times staggering through the great aisles of ...
— The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. 1 of 3 • George Augustus Sala

... your pipe until we come back; and, indeed, seven is as many as the gig will carry with any degree of comfort. The cutter will go ashore to fetch off the luggage, which will probably be of somewhat portentous dimensions." ...
— The Queen's Cup • G. A. Henty

... lazy habits are certainly not what we have been wont to ascribe to our sturdy forefathers. Has the village, peradventure, been deserted by the population, through fear of the Hessian marauders, the threat of whose coming has long hung like a portentous cloud, over the Berkshire valley? Not at all. It is not the fear of man, but the fear of God, that has laid a spell upon the place. It is the Sabbath, or what we moderns call Sunday, and law and conscience have set their double seal on every door, that neither man, woman ...
— The Duke of Stockbridge • Edward Bellamy

... the ocean were working more rapidly for the interest of the United States than any influence which the government itself could exert. Before Mr. Monroe reached France in the spring of 1803, another war-cloud of portentous magnitude was hanging over Europe. The treaty of Amiens had proved only a truce. Awkwardly constructed, misconstrued and violated by both parties, it was about to be formally broken. Neither of the plenipotentiaries who ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. 1 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... during which they had not caught sight of bird or beast worthy of a charge of powder and shot. "What precious fools we all air!" he repeated with the air of a Solon, and shaking his head solemnly with portentous gravity. ...
— Picked up at Sea - The Gold Miners of Minturne Creek • J.C. Hutcheson

... for some time. No one expected to find TAY PAY in this Galley. Since his return from Ameriky hasn't opened his voice in debate; spoken in public only once. That was to his constituents in Scotland Road, Liverpool; announced with portentous blast in advance that then and there the anxious world should learn what side he took in the leadership controversy. Others had declared themselves, whether for Brer FOX or Brer RABBIT. The momentous issue of TAY PAY's decision required ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, May 16, 1891 • Various

... something portentous in the scene. The Captain grew uncomfortable, too, no longer laughing heartily or joining in our talk. He kept his eyes on the sky, and smoked ...
— Captain Mugford - Our Salt and Fresh Water Tutors • W.H.G. Kingston

... against the established Governments of the Allies, with whom their Government lamented it could not draw the bonds of friendship more closely—a new species, half naval and half political, whose nature is portentous, in whose existence I could never have believed. Mr. Temple, a prudent and experienced Minister, is absent, unfortunately, from his post, and his place is filled by Lord Napier, a worthy man, and an active, above all, an active penman, a glib writer ...
— Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy 1738-1914 • Edgar Jones

... worked out a series of episodes in Arnljot's life, beginning with his capture of the fair Ingigerd—whose father he slew, and who, struggling against her love, took refuge in a cloister—and ending with the day of the portentous battle against the heathen. It is all very impressive, and sometimes very subtle, while occasional sections, such as Ingigerd's appeal for admission to the cloister, and Arnljot's apostrophe to the sea, must be reckoned among ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 5 • Various

... poor—or, as he puts it, between the rival queens, Poverty and Money. The forces on either side are drawn out and arrayed with pathetic ingenuity, and the result is indicated with a quaint and grim effect of humorous if indignant resignation. "The Raven's Almanack" of the same year, though portentous in its menace of plague, famine, and civil war, is less noticeable for its moral and religious declamation than for its rather amusing than edifying anecdotes; which, it must again be admitted, in their mixture of jocular ...
— The Age of Shakespeare • Algernon Charles Swinburne

... In short, he had fallen in love with Ida de la Molle when he first saw her five years ago, and was now in the process of discovering the fact. There he sat in his chair in the old half-furnished room, which he proposed to turn into his dining-room, and groaned in spirit over this portentous discovery. What had become of his fair prospect of quiet years sloping gently downwards, and warm with the sweet drowsy light of afternoon? How was it that he had not known those things that belonged to his peace? And probably it would end in nothing. Was it likely that such a splendid young ...
— Colonel Quaritch, V.C. - A Tale of Country Life • H. Rider Haggard

... was so intense at the siege of Amposta, that serpents of an enormous magnitude are reported by L. Marineo to have descended from the mountains, and taken refuge in the camp of the besiegers. Portentous and supernatural voices were frequently heard during the nights. Indeed, the superstition of the soldiers appears to have been so lively as to have prepared them for seeing ...
— History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella V1 • William H. Prescott

... bide in patience, holding her wonder in check. Edna's portentous manner throughout luncheon was enough to keep expectation at the highest. Even Aunt Clara noticed it, and had to be put off with evasive reasons. Subsequently Edna set the elderly lady to writing letters in a cubicle that went by the name of library, ...
— The Mystery of Murray Davenport - A Story of New York at the Present Day • Robert Neilson Stephens

... clothing, in keeping body and soul together, to have any time for the fine arts. Most of the New England divines tried their hands at limping and hob-nail verse, but prior to the Revolution, American literature is remarkable only for its aridity, its lack of inspiration and its portentous dulness. In these respects it may proudly claim never to have been surpassed in the history of mankind. In fact, American literature, as such, may be said to date from 1809, when Washington Irving gave to the world his inimitable "History of New York." ...
— American Men of Mind • Burton E. Stevenson

... temporarily, but now she was not sorry that he had called. Nevertheless, as she turned toward him, after bidding her friends good-night, Patricia was conscious that the atmosphere had suddenly became surcharged with portentous possibilities. She had recognized in that expression of disappointment, so plainly depicted upon Morton's face when he entered the room, that he had come to her with a self-avowed determination to continue the conversation interrupted by the Houston girls when he was bringing her home, ...
— The Last Woman • Ross Beeckman

... throughout with beaten gold. In a straight path the light was reflected from every point—every point but one for at the far end, where the curved sides joined, was a circle of darkness. It stared like an eye, evil, portentous. Jerry nerved himself for an ordeal, unknown but imminent. The black eye glared at ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, June, 1930 • Various

... He held his head. He went over to the stationary bowl and soaked his hair with water. He lay on the bed and kicked his heels, slowly and gravely smoothing his mustache. Fifty minutes later he gave a portentous groan and ...
— Our Mr. Wrenn - The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man • Sinclair Lewis



Words linked to "Portentous" :   significant, portent, prophetical, important, fateful, prodigious, pretentious



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