fore·​see | \fȯr-ˈsē \
foresaw\fȯr-​ˈsȯ \; foreseen\fȯr-​ˈsēn \; 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, -​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

The company raised its earnings-per-share guidance to $4.10 to $4.30 for the year, foreseeing same-store sales growth of 2.3% to 2.5%. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Investors Shrink From a Shrinking Macy’s," 14 Nov. 2018 Among his terrifying promises was to open the Amazon rainforest to Brazil's powerful agribusiness lobby, which scientists and activists foresee as a potential death knell for the world's already slim chances of combatting climate change. Vogue, "Why Environmentalists (Among Many Others) Are Worried About Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s New Far-Right President," 29 Oct. 2018 Of course, this all could have been foreseen given the demographics of the pilot workforce. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "How the Pilot Shortage Could Change the Way We Fly," 21 Aug. 2018 Call it luck or genius, less than a decade ago, Buick's marketing and product developers foresaw consumers' evolving preference for SUVs and crossovers instead of sedans. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "The GM brand that nearly died and the unlikely buyers saving it," 27 June 2018 One prominent historian at Complutense University of Madrid, foreseeing no hope for success, rejected his invitation to serve on the commission. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 The chancellor has put the university on a course toward censorship of the worst kind: undefined censorship that can be punished after the fact, even though not foreseen. Gregory Germain, Washington Post, "Law professor: Syracuse betrayed its commitment to free speech when it punished fraternity members for their videos," 11 June 2018 Flory of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture doesn't foresee a major shift among older evangelicals, but added that there may be a sea change among millennials. NBC News, "Climate change schism: Evangelical Christians divided on human role in global warming," 22 Apr. 2018 Though Best Buy doesn’t foresee a direct impact from the steel and aluminum tariffs, the CEO is worried about broader repercussions., "Trump’s Relationship With Corporate America Hits a Speed Bump," 9 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for foresee

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for foresee

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

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More Definitions for foresee



English Language Learners Definition of foresee

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


fore·​see | \fȯr-ˈsē \
foresaw\-​ˈsȯ \; foreseen\-​ˈsēn \; foreseeing

Kids Definition of foresee

: to see or know about beforehand I didn't foresee the accident.


transitive verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foresee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foresee

Spanish Central: Translation of foresee

Nglish: Translation of foresee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foresee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foresee

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