fore·​shad·​ow·​ing fȯr-ˈsha-də-wiŋ How to pronounce foreshadowing (audio)
plural foreshadowings
: an indication of what is to come
If the history of the world were a novel, the events so strikingly chronicled in the photographs in this book … would seem a foreshadowing of the recent events …Ralph Novak
On this merry Christmas evening, however, no fears or dim foreshadowings of any coming event clouded our hearts or faces.Lucy Maud Montgomery
also : the use of such indications (as in a work of literature)
And, further, Rose is a genuine cliff-hanger, or page-turner, full of foreshadowing … and all the tried and tricky methods of creating suspense. John Simon

Examples of foreshadowing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Throughout a novel that breathlessly rushes from crisis to crisis, Dostoevsky knits the whole together through symbolic doubling (Ivan and Smerdyakov), the foreshadowing of future events, recurrent imagery (candy, fingers, laughter, demons) and several other rhetorical devices. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2023 In an ironic foreshadowing of the film’s future, the co-directors, producers, and crew members often goofed around about the creative direction Talk to Me was taking in anticipation of submission to a particular Park City–set film festival. Vulture, 17 July 2023 The Portland crowd gave the singer an overwhelmingly positive reception, and that was the foreshadowing of her imminent rise to mainstream success. Jenni Moore | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 13 Mar. 2023 That was enough foreshadowing for Reddington’s serene if slightly undignified demise at the horns of a bull in Spain, accepting his fate just as his longtime FBI contact Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) was bearing down on him. Brian Lowry, CNN, 14 July 2023 The road to disappointment starts with three wins but ominous foreshadowing. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 27 Aug. 2022 Torre also shared some stories from Matsui’s years with the Yankees, reminiscing on how the former outfielder debuted at Yankee Stadium in 2003, hitting a grand slam against the Minnesota Twins — a foreshadowing for his career with the team that would end as he was deemed World Series MVP in 2009. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 23 June 2022 Entry Eighteenth-century Umbrian doors open onto a foreshadowing of what’s to come: striking light fixtures, great art, and unique furnishings. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 5 Aug. 2021 Isle de Jean Charles is an important foreshadowing of what will happen to coastal communities globally, researchers warn. Scientific American, 15 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foreshadowing.' 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

1587, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of foreshadowing was in 1587

Dictionary Entries Near foreshadowing

Cite this Entry

“Foreshadowing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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