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

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 foresee (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 But even Martha couldn’t foresee 2020, the year that canceled their wedding, forced them to work from their studio apartment, and, in a way, made Mary and Niko more certain than ever about each other. Jessica Contrera, Washington Post, "A Christmas gift: Stories of the quest for connection," 23 Dec. 2020 Not until the end of 2023 does Moody’s Analytics foresee the U.S. economy regaining its pre-pandemic employment level. Paul Wiseman And Alexandra Olson,, "From restaurants to retail, travel to telecommuting, COVID-19 has transformed the economy. Which changes will stick?," 16 Dec. 2020 But lawmakers didn’t foresee the surge in diabetes — the leading cause of kidney failure — and the numbers began to balloon. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "For years, JaMarcus Crews tried to get a new kidney, but corporate healthcare stood in the way.," 15 Dec. 2020 Lawmakers foresee the decade-old agency nearly doubling its budget by 2025, to $761 million. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, "Massive 2021 U.S. spending bill leaves research advocates hoping for more," 22 Dec. 2020 The Illinois lawmakers who passed the educational labor relations act probably did not foresee a pandemic, Sered said. Hannah Leone,, "Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plan a step closer to reality after teachers union injunction is denied," 17 Dec. 2020 Instead, their existing energy plans foresee an average annual increase of 2 percent, which would lead to more than double the production consistent with the 1.5 degree C limit by 2030. Ploy Achakulwisut, Scientific American, "The U.S. Risks Locking In a Climate Health Crisis in Response to COVID," 8 Dec. 2020 Forecasters generally foresee fewer dollars devoted to experiences such as going to shows or dining out. Marc Bain, Quartz, "The impossible task of accurately predicting the 2020 holiday shopping season," 17 Nov. 2020 Many foresee a net loss of jobs in December for the first time since April. Christopher Rugaber And Casey Smith, Star Tribune, "A bleak outlook for millions facing cutoff of US jobless aid," 5 Dec. 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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Statistics for foresee

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on foresee

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