afore·​thought ə-ˈfȯr-ˌthȯt How to pronounce aforethought (audio)
: previously in mind : premeditated, deliberate
with malice aforethought

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Páez was also convicted of two counts of aggravated homicide, qualified by intent and malice aforethought. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 25 Feb. 2023 Depraved-indifference murder is not supposed to be a sleight-of-hand that elevates manslaughter to murder, or that effectively turns an unintentional killing into an intentional murder by substituting depraved indifference for malice aforethought. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 7 Mar. 2021 Had Styles — either completely by accident or with malice aforethought — unleashed a mouthful of spit upon his elder co-star? Vulture, 7 Sep. 2022 The leak of a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade is an unprecedented breach of trust, and one that must be assumed was done with malice aforethought. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 May 2022 The media have medical specialists on call who will quickly second guess every non-disclosure, often with political malice aforethought. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 4 Oct. 2020 In December, Newman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with malice aforethought. Christine Pelisek,, 9 July 2020 Armando Iannucci’s absurdist comedy reveals this in an extremely loose manner of speaking, with malice aforethought, straight-faced glee and formidable sharpshooting that occasionally misfires. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 8 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aforethought.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


afore + thought, past participle of think entry 1, probably as Anglicization of prepense

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aforethought was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near aforethought

Cite this Entry

“Aforethought.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


afore·​thought -ˌthȯt How to pronounce aforethought (audio)
: thought of or planned beforehand : premeditated
with malice aforethought

Legal Definition


afore·​thought ə-ˈfōr-ˌthȯt How to pronounce aforethought (audio)
: previously in mind : premeditated

More from Merriam-Webster on aforethought

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