fore·​see | \ fȯr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio) \
foresaw\ fȯr-​ˈsȯ How to pronounce foresaw (audio) \; foreseen\ fȯr-​ˈsēn How to pronounce foreseen (audio) \; foreseeing

Definition of foresee

transitive verb

: to see (something, such as a development) beforehand He could not have foreseen the consequences of his actions. She foresaw the company's potential and invested early on.

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Other Words from foresee

foreseer \ fȯr-​ˈsē-​ər How to pronounce foreseer (audio) , -​ˈsir \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for foresee

foresee, foreknow, divine, anticipate mean to know beforehand. foresee implies nothing about how the knowledge is derived and may apply to ordinary reasoning and experience. economists should have foreseen the recession foreknow usually implies supernatural assistance, as through revelation. if only we could foreknow our own destinies divine adds to foresee the suggestion of exceptional wisdom or discernment. was able to divine Europe's rapid recovery from the war anticipate implies taking action about or responding emotionally to something before it happens. the waiter anticipated our every need

Examples of foresee in a Sentence

We couldn't have foreseen the consequences of our actions. He foresees a day when all war will cease. She foresaw the company's potential and invested early on.
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Recent Examples on the Web In 1983, most Silicon Valley tech leaders foresaw a future of hundreds of millions of cheaper, faster, better computers primarily for business users. John Sculley, Fortune, "Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley: Why Sensors Are the Future of Health Care Tech," 17 July 2019 While last season certainly proved that anything is possible – very few foresaw the Bucks owning the best record or the Raptors winning the title – the Bucks and 76ers appear to be on a collision course for the Eastern Conference finals. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks re-sign Lopez, trade Brogdon, but Saturday's biggest move was Kawhi's departure," 6 July 2019 Geist foresaw the potential population growth in Indianapolis and likely water shortage that would result. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Who is Clarence Geist and why did they name a reservoir after him?," 20 June 2019 Few at that time foresaw how quickly America’s energy fortunes would be transformed by shale. Roger Howard, Newsweek, "Is the U.S. Fracking Boom a Bubble?," 14 July 2014 The Congress Budget Office released a report Tuesday predicting U.S. debt will reach 98 percent of the country's GDP by 2030, up from the 81 percent the office foresees the deficit reaching by the end of 2020. TheWeek, "U.S. national debt projected to reach 98 percent of GDP by end of decade," 28 Jan. 2020 What was not foreseen was that Reagan and Volcker would start a new economic regime to kill inflation that prevails to this day. Stephen Moore, Washington Examiner, "The economy's unsung hero is low interest rates," 23 Jan. 2020 But although an increase in inflation was widely foreseen, the severity of it was not. The Economist, "India’s economy risks swapping stagnation for stagflation," 23 Jan. 2020 Hard to imagine finishing this song without a lump in my throat, and impossible to foresee any other song coming for Vitamin C’s graduation belt anytime soon. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: Billboard Staffers Discuss Maroon 5's Climb to No. 2 With 'Memories'," 7 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foresee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of foresee

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for foresee

Time Traveler

The first known use of foresee was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for foresee


How to pronounce foresee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of foresee

somewhat formal : to see or become aware of (something that has not yet happened)


fore·​see | \ fȯr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio) \
foresaw\ -​ˈsȯ \; foreseen\ -​ˈsēn \; foreseeing

Kids Definition of foresee

: to see or know about beforehand I didn't foresee the accident.
foresaw; foreseen; foreseeing

Legal Definition of foresee

: to be aware of the reasonable possibility of (as an occurrence or development) beforehand

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More from Merriam-Webster on foresee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foresee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foresee

Spanish Central: Translation of foresee

Nglish: Translation of foresee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foresee for Arabic Speakers

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