foretell

verb
fore·​tell | \ fȯr-ˈtel How to pronounce foretell (audio) \
foretold\ fȯr-​ˈtōld How to pronounce foretold (audio) \; foretelling

Definition of foretell

transitive verb

: to tell beforehand : predict

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Other Words from foretell

foreteller noun

Choose the Right Synonym for foretell

foretell, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate mean to tell beforehand. foretell applies to the telling of the coming of a future event by any procedure or any source of information. seers foretold the calamity predict commonly implies inference from facts or accepted laws of nature. astronomers predicted an eclipse forecast adds the implication of anticipating eventualities and differs from predict in being usually concerned with probabilities rather than certainties. forecast snow prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future especially as the fulfilling of divine threats or promises. prophesying a new messiah prognosticate is used less often than the other words; it may suggest learned or skilled interpretation, but more often it is simply a colorful substitute for predict or prophesy. prognosticating the future

foretell, predict, and forecast mean to tell about or announce something before it happens. foretell is used when the future is revealed especially by extraordinary powers. The wizards foretold a great war. predict is used for a fairly exact statement that is the result of the gathering of information and the use of scientific methods. Scientists can sometimes predict earthquakes. forecast is often used when a person has weighed evidence and is telling what is most likely to happen. Experts are forecasting snow.

Examples of foretell in a Sentence

We cannot foretell the future. a 16th-century astrologer who, some claim, accurately foretold 20th-century events

Recent Examples on the Web

Democrats feared early on that a handful of Senate races foretold a night of gloom. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "4 winners and 2 losers from the 2018 midterm elections," 7 Nov. 2018 It was directed by one of the most important and influential visual artists in film history, and the plot foretold the invention of virtual reality decades ahead of its time. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 And there was one incident that foretold what was to come. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "BTK killer Dennis Rader tells all in unheard interview for doc: 'It's a demon that's within me'," 21 Aug. 2018 Inevitably, the balance sheet foretold the coming storm. Steve H. Hanke And John Greenwood, WSJ, "The Dollar, Not the IMF, Can Save Argentina," 26 Sep. 2018 His rock-star reception at a September Democratic fundraiser in Iowa that year foretold the head-to-head clash of the two stars. Thomas Beaumont, The Seattle Times, "Top 2020 Democrats missing in Iowa but working backchannel," 5 Aug. 2018 The campaigns offered no details on the extent of their advertising, but the early ads foretell an expensive and contentious contest between two of the wealthiest men ever to seek the Illinois governor’s office. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "Rauner hits Pritzker over Blagojevich, Pritzker hits Rauner over 'failed leadership' in early TV ads," 5 June 2018 For Krasner, who spent his own life among those accused of crime, this was a reckoning foretold. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "Krasner's push to purify the Philly DA's office harms victims, past and potential | Christine Flowers," 8 Jan. 2018 Can the decision to wolf down two doughnuts — and then shake out the decorative curls of chocolate that collect in the bottom of the bag and eat those, too — really be foretold by something deep in my family’s DNA? Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Will my genes doom my young daughter to a weight problem?," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foretell.' 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 foretell

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for foretell

The first known use of foretell was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for foretell

foretell

verb

English Language Learners Definition of foretell

formal + literary : to describe (something) before it happens

foretell

verb
fore·​tell | \ fōr-ˈtel How to pronounce foretell (audio) \
foretold\ -​ˈtōld \; foretelling

Kids Definition of foretell

: to tell of a thing before it happens

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More from Merriam-Webster on foretell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foretell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foretell

Spanish Central: Translation of foretell

Nglish: Translation of foretell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foretell for Arabic Speakers

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