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

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.
foreseer 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Fittingly, the different parties foresee different chaos scenarios. Bychloe Berger, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2024 But most experts foresee job gains continuing to slow over the course of the year amid steady economic growth. J.j. McCorvey, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 Among many goals Borko foresees for his future, personal objectives are just as important as business ones. Kyle Russell, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 As a result, central bank officials expect interest rates to come down more slowly in 2025 than previously foreseen, and only narrowly maintained their outlook for three quarter-point cuts this year. Joe Rennison, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 But his death became a political football whose uses were difficult to foresee at the time. Robert F. Worth, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2024 Among the fallouts from the crisis professor Gomes foresees is a sharp decline in the value of the dollar as interest rates spiral higher. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 1 Apr. 2024 Whether Maryland transportation officials should have foreseen such a risk and whether other states should learn lessons from its example are among the questions likely to be explored in connection with an investigation the NTSB said could take up to two years. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 This might help the fight off the existential threat foreseen for Europe at the hands of the Chinese. Neil Winton, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near foresee

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


fore·​see fōr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio)
foresaw -ˈsȯ How to pronounce foresee (audio) ; foreseen -ˈsēn How to pronounce foresee (audio) ; foreseeing
: to see or realize beforehand : expect

Legal Definition


transitive verb
foresaw; foreseen; foreseeing
: to be aware of the reasonable possibility of (as an occurrence or development) beforehand

More from Merriam-Webster on foresee

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