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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web This could mean that many companies foresee scant likelihood of a substantial economic recovery anytime soon and so still feel a need to cut jobs. Christopher Rugaber, The Christian Science Monitor, "US unemployment rises to 39 million as states reopen," 21 May 2020 If fans are unable to participate, Jones foresees USAC would be required to provide financial assistance to some tracks to remain in operation. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "As dirt tracks prepare to reopen, promoters emerge from months of uncertainty," 20 May 2020 Not everyone is satisfied with the guidelines set out overnight by the government, which foresees the opening Monday of bars, restaurants, shops, hairdressers and beauticians. USA TODAY, "Italy seeks to boost tourism by opening regional and international borders June 3," 16 May 2020 But there is a distinct tragedy in the narrative of reversal — of young people so close to the threshold of transformation suddenly watching the line pulled away to a future no one can foresee. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "She Escaped Sex Work for College. Now the Virus Threatens Her New Life.," 15 May 2020 Some credit Chayefsky for foreseeing the rise of what came to be known as tabloid television — sensationalist news programs packed with lurid crimes that were produced not for network prime-time but for syndication. Kyle Smith, National Review, "What Network Got Wrong," 5 May 2020 Those who think things will eventually return to normal would be more comfortable going to public places if restrictions were lifted now, than would those who foresee permanent changes to day-to-day life after the outbreak. CBS News, "Most foresee a country forever changed after coronavirus — CBS News poll," 23 Apr. 2020 While airlines foresee an uptick in bargain-hunting leisure travelers this summer, big money road warriors will take longer to win back. Justin Bachman,, "America’s ‘Big Three’ airlines prepare for a difficult fall season," 20 Apr. 2020 The investor who foresaw the banking crisis and profited is catapulted to messiah, while the taxpayer gets angry that run-of-the-mill bankers didn’t predict it. WSJ, "Covid-19, Human Nature, Evasion and Blame Shifting," 10 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of foresee

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foresee

Time Traveler for foresee

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for foresee

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on foresee

What made you want to look up foresee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!