I refer to the verb bode, meaning "to be a portent of a particular outcome" as in a sentence such as her success bodes well for the future.

Most often I see the past in the form of her success in London 2012 did bode well for Rio 2016.

But I cannot find a past form of boded in any dictionary, including the OED. Does it exist?


Boded seems fine to me - "Her success boded well for the future.

I guess that 'boded' often does not come up in the description of the verb because it is 'regular'...

The OED provides a couple of rather ancient examples (most of their examples use present tense).

1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (1865) II. 293 It bodid grete merite and vertue.

1676 Dryden Aureng-Zebe ii. 26 What ever now The omen prove, it boded well to you. ▸a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.)

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  • +1 Parallel tracks! -- If you want to appropriate the Bosworth-Toller/OE part, I'll concede your priority and delete my answer. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 20 '16 at 22:23

It seems to have been a weak verb all the way back to OE bodian (alternatively bodigan, bodigean): Bosworth-Toller gives the preterite suffixes in various spellings as ode, -ede, -ade, -ude (and past participle suffixes as -od, -ed, -ad, -ud—I've added all those hyphens to BT's notation). Some examples cited in OED 1:

bododon englas ðæt acenned wæs Crist on eorþan —Boded angels that born was Christ on earth = "Angels announced that Christ was born on earth" —Hymns, ca. 1000

It bodid grete merite and vertue —John of Trevisa, transl. Ranulf Higden's Polychronicon, 1387

Whatever now The omen proved, It boded well to you —Dryden, Aurung-Zebe, 1675

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Both Merriam-Webster and American Heritage dictionaries online show boded as the past tense form of bode. From AHD:

bode 1 (bōd)

Share: v. bod·ed, bod·ing, bodes v.tr. 1. To be an omen of: heavy seas that boded trouble for small craft. 2. Archaic To predict; foretell. v.intr. To be an omen; portend: The peace accord bodes well for the city under siege.

From M-W:

Full Definition of bode

boded boding

transitive verb

1 archaic : to announce beforehand : foretell

2 : to indicate by signs : presage

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  • Beat me by seconds +1 – Helmar Sep 20 '16 at 21:49

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