Omen Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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What do black cats, broken mirrors, and ravens all have in common?

If you guessed that these things are all omens, you’d be correct! That said, what does the word omen even mean, and where did it come from? We’ll tell you. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about the term omen (/ˈəʊmən/ /ˈəʊ.mən/), including its definition, origin, and more. Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

What Is the Definition of Omen?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, our word of the day can be defined as something that’s considered to be a sign of how a future event will take place. 

In other words, if you consider something to be an omen, you think it indicates what is likely to come your way and whether it’ll be good or bad.  

What Is the Etymology of Omen?

The word origin of omen, meaning occurrence supposed to portend evil or good, begins in the late 16th century and is derived from the Latin omen — which itself means augury or foreboding. 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Omen?

An omen is simply something that is believed to be a sign or warning of something that’ll happen in the future. To strengthen your overall understanding of this term, let’s review a few synonyms and antonyms. 

Synonyms of Omen

  • Augur
  • Prefigure 
  • Portent 
  • Augury 
  • Presage 
  • Danger sign
  • Ill omen
  • Straw in the wind
  • Prefigurement 
  • Harbinger 
  • Writing on the wall
  • Token
  • Prophecy
  • Indication 
  • Of event anticipation
  • Zodiac
  • Crystal gazing
  • Fortune telling
  • Sortilege
  • Be a sign of
  • Writing on the wall
  • Hunch
  • Inkling
  • The winds of change
  • Foreshadowing 
  • Prognostication 
  • Auspicate
  • Prophetic significance 
  • Auspice 
  • Sneaking suspicion
  • Handwriting on wall
  • Second sight
  • Feeling in one’s bones
  • Sinking feeling
  • Gut feeling 
  • Sixth sense
  • Prodigy 
  • Premonition 
  • Bode 
  • Funny feeling
  • Vague feeling
  • Wake-up call
  • Bad feeling
  • Warning sign
  • Smoke signal
  • Gentle reminder
  • Foretoken 
  • Foreboding 
  • Portend 
  • Bird of ill omen 
  • Prognostic 
  • Signal fire
  • Tip-off
  • High sign
  • Mayday 
  • Clairvoyance
  • Palm reading
  • Psychic power
  • Soothsaying
  • Extra sensory perception
  • Fortune telling 
  • Boding 
  • Fortell 

Antonyms of Omen

  • Proof 
  • Reality
  • Truth
  • Result
  • Knowledge
  • Trust
  • End product
  • After effect
  • Outgrowth
  • Consummation
  • Repercussion
  • End result
  • Break
  • Doom
  • Corollary
  • Outcome
  • Product
  • Falsehood
  • Motive
  • Incentive
  • Spur
  • Impulse
  • Impetus
  • Blanket
  • Cloak
  • Darken
  • Eclipse
  • Shroud
  • Veil
  • Retrodict 

How Can You Use Omen in a Sentence?

By now, you likely have a pretty good understanding of the meaning behind our word of the day, but do you know how to use it properly in a sentence? 

Fret, not — here are a few example sentences for you to study below:

“Were you aware that Jason wholeheartedly believes that seeing a black cat cross his path is indeed a bad omen?”

“Do you believe in omens?”

“That was all we needed! That win was indeed a good omen, an omen of things to come.” 

“My favorite horror film is The Omen; what’s yours?”

“My uncle is super superstitious and avoids bad omens like the plague.”

“I know crossing a black cat’s path is considered a bad omen, but I just can’t help myself; they are so cute!”

“After leaving that random house that sits on the corner of Cherry Street, I saw a dead raven, which my grandmother warned was a bad omen.”

“Many people are under the impression that all omens are bad, but there are some really good ones, too!”

“Did you know catching the bouquet is technically an omen?”

“Whenever Tanner spills salt, he always has to toss some over his shoulder because he thinks it’s an omen.”

“My best friend Ashley is a popular witch on social media that is well-known in the spiritual community as the queen of removing bad omens.”

“I think you’re an omen because every time I bring you to the casino, I always end up getting extremely lucky!”

“At first, I was really excited to meet my doppelganger, but then Marty told me how it’s a bad omen so now I am a little apprehensive.”

“Did you know that the ‘knock-on wood’ omen has only been in use since the early 20th century?”

What Are Translations of Omen?

Our word of the day has been around for quite some time, so it’s really not surprising that there are multiple ways to say it. Here are some common translations of the word omen: 

  • Italian — presagio 
  • Japanese — 前兆
  • Korean — 징조
  • Croatian — znak
  • Danish — varsel
  • American English — omen  
  • Brazilian Portuguese — presságio 
  • Russian — предзнаменование
  • Turkish — omen 
  • Vietnamese — điềm
  • Ukrainian — знак
  • Chinese — 预兆
  • British English — omen
  • European Spanish — presagio 
  • Dutch — voorteken
  • French — présage 
  • German — Omen
  • European Portuguese — presságio 
  • Finnish — enne
  • Greek — οιωνός
  • Spanish — presagio 
  • Thai — ลางสังหรณ์, ลางบอกเหตุ

What Are Some Examples of Omens?

Whether you’re superstitious or not, there’s no denying that the magical and mysterious world of omens is a fascinating one. That said, here are some of the most infamous omens that are known all around the world:

  • A black cat
  • Walking under a ladder
  • Breaking a mirror
  • Number 13
  • Four-leaf clover
  • Crows
  • Ravens
  • Knocking on wood
  • Catching the bouquet
  • Itchy hands
  • Throwing salt
  • Old broom in a new home
  • Saying, “God bless you”
  • The daisy oracle
  • Something old, something new


An omen is a phenomenon or occurrence that is regarded as a sign of future happiness or disaster. In other words, it’s a symbol that foreshadows what’s to come. 

When omens don’t come true, it may be due to a misunderstanding of the symbol or simply that there was no real omen, to begin with — in which case the fake omen was just some form of wishful thinking or fantasy.   


OMEN : definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

Ten Famous and Infamous Omens in the Ancient World  | Ancient Origins

Science and Superstition: Interpretation of Signs in the Ancient World | The University of Chicago