It may be something that will happen to the person who is having the feeling but it may also be to several persons, as might occur with a highly destructive earthquake, for instance.

The word or phrase would be used in the following sentence:

“I’m no spiritualist but I have a feeling of ___. I hope it’s just a feeling."

EDIT - The phrase I'm looking for conveys a much stronger feeling than "I have a bad hunch". It is about something catastrophic which the person feels is "going to happen in a few minutes".

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    ... of dread / great apprehension. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 12 '14 at 15:58
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    a disturbance in the Force? – Rusty Tuba Dec 12 '14 at 16:16
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    I think this is Primarily Opinion-based. There are any number of credible words, including angst, fear, dread, trepidation, foreboding, unease, etc. – FumbleFingers Dec 12 '14 at 16:54
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    @unixmiah: "calamity" refers to an event, not a feeling – Rusty Tuba Dec 12 '14 at 21:13
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    "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." Macbeth, Act 4, scene 1, ll. 44-45 – Matt Gutting Dec 12 '14 at 22:08

10 Answers 10


My first thoughts on reading the question were of the phrase 'I have a feeling of impending doom.' Since the word 'catastrophic' is used, this doesn't feel unduly strong.

Edit by Centaurus - I'm adding some lines from the reference the answerer has given in his comment below:

Many people experience strong feelings and sensations associated with fear and anxiety. They are especially powerful when they occur for seemingly no reason. Consequently, many people react to these "out of the blue" feelings with fear, which only serves to inflame them. To better understand these strong impending doom feelings, the anxiety symptom “fear of impending doom” is often described as one or many of the following:

  • Feeling like something awful is about to occur
  • A sense that something very dangerous is about to happen
  • An overwhelming feeling you are about to die
  • A strong feeling that something terrible is about to happen and there isn’t anything you can do about it
  • A strong feeling of death and destruction that suddenly comes over you
  • An overwhelming fear of impending doom, destruction, despair, and gloom
  • A horrible feeling of doom and gloom that washes over you
  • Fear of impending doom that begins or accompanies a panic attack or anxiety attack
  • Such a strong feeling of impending doom that you feel you have to escape immediately or something terrible will happen

How about foreboding: 'a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc'.

  • +1! How would one use foreboding as in the OP's example? "I feel a foreboding," perhaps? – This account is dead Dec 12 '14 at 19:41
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    "I have a sense of foreboding." Or, if it's really bad, "I have a sense of five-boding." (A running joke with my wife.) – Hot Licks Dec 12 '14 at 19:43
  • The expression I'm looking for would fill the blanks here: I'm no spiritualist but I have a feeling of ----------------. – Centaurus Dec 12 '14 at 22:26
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    @Centaurus -- "I have a feeling of foreboding" is a perfectly good way to use the word. (Though "sense of foreboding" sounds more, well, foreboding.) – Hot Licks Dec 12 '14 at 22:57
  • If FumbleFingers' comment (mentioninf 'foreboding') preceded this answer, I feel the enormous upvote tally is even less appropriate. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '14 at 22:39

Is not the word you are searching ominous?

I'm no spiritualist but I have an ominous feeling, ....

Equally, as Patrick Wood points out a feeling of foreboding would do equally well, perhaps engendering even more concern in the listener.

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    I don't think one has an "ominous feeling", one has a negative feeling in response to an ominous situation. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ominous – Digital Chris Dec 12 '14 at 18:29
  • The expression I'm looking for would fill the blanks here: I'm no spiritualist but I have a feeling of ----------------. – Centaurus Dec 12 '14 at 22:26
  • @DigitalChris I have thought about this matter carefully. Since ominous (from omen) is an adjective and 'feelings* a noun, it must be possible for there to be ominous feelings. Certainly if I have a strange feeling in my stomach, it could be an ominous sign of food poisoning. Feelings and sensibilities of a less physical kind, can act as a barometer of likely events. It would seem to me, therefore, that they can be ominous. Though I would agree that the more usual expression is of worries about ominous signs. – WS2 Dec 12 '14 at 22:35
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    @Centaurus You could have a 'feeling of ill omen', which is otherwise put as 'an ominous feeling'. – WS2 Dec 12 '14 at 22:37
  • ominous feeling sounds perfectly natural to me, and would substitute into @Centaurus' sentence, probably with an extra adverbial phrase at the end: "I'm no spiritualist, but I have an ominous feeling about this." or "I'm no spiritualist, but I have an ominous feeling right now." – AmeliaBR Dec 13 '14 at 0:32

I’m no spiritualist but I have a premonition. I hope it’s no more than that.

The alternative shown above may work. From en.wiktionary, premonition means

(1) A clairvoyant or clairaudient experience, such as a dream, which resonates with some event in the future.
(2) A strong intuition that something is about to happen (usually something negative, but not exclusively).

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    Premonition has no negative connotations. A premonition could be good or bad. – Dave Magner Dec 12 '14 at 22:26
  • @DaveMagner, Wiktionary suggests it's usually something negative; which in fact is a negative connotation. But perhaps it doesn't have a negative denotation. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Dec 13 '14 at 4:04
  • The OED definition is "The action of premonishing or forewarning; a previous notification or warning of subsequent events; a forewarning." I think there is almost nothing in any of these definitions (except the questionable Wiktionary) which suggests the event must be negative; however, I would agree that the word is usually used when something negative is or has been suspected. – chronometric Dec 13 '14 at 7:01
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    @Dave - NOAD's defintion reads: "a strong feeling that something is about to happen, esp. something unpleasant : he had a premonition of imminent disaster" [emphasis added]. When I Google "he had a premonition that", the results are filled with premonitions of plane crashes, chainsaw accidents, and death. Maybe there's a premonition of winning the lottery buried in there somewhere, but I'd say that premonition at least leans toward the negative, even if it can be used both ways. – J.R. Dec 13 '14 at 10:59

I have a feeling of impending danger or I have a presentiment of impending danger.



  • a sign that something, often something unpleasant, will happen:

  • something that foreshadows or portends a future event , omen

    • The fact that no agreement has been reached by the Prime Ministers is a presage that a conflict may be imminent.

(from www.dictionary.cambridge.org)


The word apprehension comes to mind.

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    Your post would be improved if it included a reference and an explanation of why it answers the question. – andy256 Dec 13 '14 at 7:48
  • Agree with @andy - in its current form, this makes a better comment than an answer. – J.R. Dec 13 '14 at 11:39
  • lolol thanks for the comments – Stephen Brackens-Brinkley Apr 4 '19 at 11:47

This is a perfect opportunity to use one of my favorite words:

consternation - noun - "An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger."

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    The first definition on Webster's site is "a strong feeling of surprise or sudden disappointment that causes confusion", and that's closer to my understanding. "Consternation" is something you experience after an event. – Hot Licks Dec 12 '14 at 19:41
  • This is a good point, that it may be used "after the fact." The OED definition is "Amazement and terror such as to prostrate one's faculties; dismay." There is nothing to suggest that it is a feeling that can only occur after an event. However, it does describe a judgement about an event, actual or potential, and thus does not precisely apply to the feeling in question (for which "apprehension" is an excellent term). – chronometric Dec 13 '14 at 6:52

"I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up"

  • That could be a statement indicating general eeriness or even fright from a situation and is not usually or specifically linked to the sometimes unexplainable feeling that something bad will happen – Jim Dec 12 '14 at 18:59
  • Maybe you're not frightened by sensing something bad happening, but I am! – rbp Dec 12 '14 at 19:03

"I feel like someone just walked over my grave" is a dark, ominous, foreboding description, and it hints toward death with a touch of the supernatural.

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    This refers to an eerie sensation, but not specifically to a feeling that something bad is about to happen. It is ominous, but rarely used to express feelings of foreboding – Jim Dec 12 '14 at 19:19

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