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 Grosz foretold that powerful countries would appease Hitler, leading to a Second World War. Mary M. Lane, Time, "When This German Artist Tried to Use His Work to Warn About Hitler, the World Ignored Him. It's Time to Listen," 10 Sep. 2019 Dantonio promised more carries for running back Elijah Collins, and the redshirt freshman took the second play of the game 29 yards that foretold a big game. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football looks powerful in 51-17 blowout of Western Michigan," 8 Sep. 2019 Crickets chirp in the silent night as the trailer starts off, building up suspense before ominous footsteps and key-clanking foretell a much-less wholehearted summer night. Anna Tingley, chicagotribune.com, "‘American Horror Story: 1984’: Summer camp gets deadly in first trailer," 26 Aug. 2019 The summer that almost drove Antonio Conte to a clinic, and foretold the end of his Blues career. SI.com, "Ranking Every Chelsea Summer Transfer Window Since 2002," 10 Aug. 2019 Shortages of food, water, gas, and medical supplies, compounded by an impassable traffic jam foretold of suffering if not violence. Mark Clague, The Conversation, "Fifty years ago, Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem expressed the hopes and fears of a nation," 14 Aug. 2019 Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, suspects Justice Breyer voted against hearing al-Alwi v Trump because Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recusal could have foretold a 4-4 tie, leaving the DC Circuit court’s ruling in place. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court refuses to hear a Guantánamo detainee's appeal," 12 June 2019 Jose Bautista said Ortiz foretold a long struggle that would eventually lead to stardom. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Opinion: From Big Papi to 'big brother,' David Ortiz's baseball impact a true love affair," 10 June 2019 With North America's smart home market expected to grow from $12 billion to $36 billion in yearly revenues between 2017 and 2022, according to market research firm Berg Insight, this experiment could foretell the future of home design. Nell Lewis, CNN, "Inside the 'living laboratory,' a neighborhood of smart homes in Alabama," 7 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for foretell

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce foretell (audio)

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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