verb fore·tell \fr-ˈtel\

: to describe (something) before it happens


Full Definition of FORETELL

transitive verb
:  to tell beforehand :  predict
fore·tell·er noun

Examples of FORETELL

  1. We cannot foretell the future.
  2. <a 16th-century astrologer who, some claim, accurately foretold 20th-century events>

First Known Use of FORETELL

14th century

Synonym Discussion of FORETELL

foretell, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate mean to tell beforehand. foretell applies to the telling of the coming of a future event by any procedure or any source of information <seers foretold the calamity>. predict commonly implies inference from facts or accepted laws of nature <astronomers predicted an eclipse>. forecast adds the implication of anticipating eventualities and differs from predict in being usually concerned with probabilities rather than certainties <forecast snow>. prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future especially as the fulfilling of divine threats or promises <prophesying a new messiah>. prognosticate is used less often than the other words; it may suggest learned or skilled interpretation, but more often it is simply a colorful substitute for predict or prophesy <prognosticating the future>.

Other Occult Terms

augury, censor, invocation, lucidity, metempsychosis, mojo, numinous, preternatural, weird, wraith
FORETELLER Defined for Kids


verb fore·tell \fōr-ˈtel\
fore·told \-ˈtōld\fore·tell·ing

Definition of FORETELL for Kids

:  to tell of a thing before it happens

Synonym Discussion of FORETELL

foretell, predict, and forecast mean to tell about or announce something before it happens. foretell is used when the future is revealed especially by extraordinary powers. <The wizards foretold a great war.> predict is used for a fairly exact statement that is the result of the gathering of information and the use of scientific methods. <Scientists can sometimes predict earthquakes.> forecast is often used when a person has weighed evidence and is telling what is most likely to happen. <Experts are forecasting snow.>


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