A foreboding sky

Last night when I went out the sky was dark with very low clouds, and I expected it to rain at any moment. It did start raining while I was outside, but fortunately I was inside by the time the heavy rain arrived. I said to a friend that the sky had looked decidedly foreboding. He agreed, and we wondered how you would say this in the past tense if you use forebode as a verb – e.g. the sky foreboded/forebod/forebad/forebid rain. It’s not a word I use every day so I wasn’t sure. Now I know that it’s foreboded.

To forebode means to warn of or indicate (an event, result, etc.) in advance; to have an intuition or premonition of (an event) [source]. Fore comes from the Old English prefix fore- (before), from the Proto-Indo-European root *per- (forward, through), and bode from the Old English word bodian from boda (messenger) [source].

Fore comes from the same root as the Latin words pro (before, for, on behalf of), prae (before) and per (through, for) [source], and related words in other languages.

I like the word bode – you could say that something bodes without specifying whether it bodes well or ill, it just bodes.

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to A foreboding sky

  1. David Craig says:

    Bodian is a weak verb in OE.

  2. Vi_Ko says:

    “Bode”? In Ukrainian (post Kievan Russ language) the verb буде [B U D E] mean (it really) Will BE