Posted by: cochinblogger | July 18, 2009

Does the Word “Impending” Have a Negative Connotation?

I recently e-mailed a friend, congratulating him on his impending marriage. A few days later, when I spoke to him, he jocularly asked if my use of the word impending in the e-mail was deliberate. Baffled, I asked him to explain himself. It turned out he thought the word had a negative connotation, as in the standard phrase “impending doom.” I didn’t think he was right, but shot back that he should be grateful I didn’t ask which girl’s life he was planning to destroy!

I checked with Webster’s later, and found that he was wrong. Here’s the entry for impend:

1 a : to hover threateningly : MENACE b : to be about to occur *the impending Senate hearings*
2 archaic : to hang suspended

Entry “b” shows that my usage was correct, though if there are many people out there who think like my friend, it would be wiser to use a word such as forthcoming.

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Responses

  1. Dear Blogger, I was about to wish someone exactly same.. Thank god I found ur post. But the word does give a negative edge to the phras, since it has always been used to indicate negative things with or without consciousness.

    Thanks for your post!


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