fore·​thought | \ ˈfȯr-ˌthȯt \

Definition of forethought

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thinking or planning out in advance : premeditation
2 : consideration for the future



Definition of forethought (Entry 2 of 2)


Keep scrolling for more

Examples of forethought in a Sentence


Her decision showed a lack of forethought. With a little forethought, you can save yourself a lot of work later on.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Again, this just required a bit of forethought and planning. Nazima Qureshi, SELF, "I'm a Registered Dietitian and Here's What I Learned Going Vegan for a Week," 25 Nov. 2018 This could not have occurred in the absence of significant levels of forethought and organization. Jon Emont, WSJ, "U.N. Calls for Genocide Charges Against Leaders of Myanmar’s Military," 18 Sep. 2018 An abrupt tweet last week by Elon Musk about the prospect of taking Tesla private was dashed off with little forethought, and had not been cleared ahead of time with the company’s board, two people familiar with the chain of events said Monday. Kate Kelly, The Seattle Times, "Elon Musk’s tweet on Tesla going private was a surprise to even its board," 13 Aug. 2018 His rap is smooth and calculated, something that likely came from a bit more forethought and revision than a rap off the top of his head. Sarah Midkiff,, "Drake Isn’t Finished With Pusha T Yet — Or Kanye West & Beyoncé — In A New Freestyle," 8 July 2018 So experts say an owner who decides to act should do so with forethought and civility. Washington Post, "Small business lessons from Red Hen’s Sanders ouster," 28 June 2018 From the abstract batik pattern on the sliding door, to the polished metal lighting fixtures, everything speaks of quality, artful design (by Pierrejean Design Studio), and meticulous forethought. David Denicolo, Town & Country, "Singapore Airlines Just Unveiled Their Luxurious New First Class Suites," 10 Nov. 2017 That lack of forethought is a symptom of Trump's tendency to live and lead in the moment without gaming how his actions will play out three or four moves down the track. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump's boss act doesn't always work," 2 May 2018 The compilation of material is put together with no more artistic forethought than the photo collage that Jackie, ailing with cancer in the second act, busily prepares to help distract her from her urge to sneak a cigarette. Charles Mcnulty,, "As Kennedy bios go, 'Jackie Unveiled' is more sketch than portrait," 2 Mar. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forethought

Share forethought

Statistics for forethought

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forethought

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for forethought



English Language Learners Definition of forethought

: careful thinking or planning about the future


fore·​thought | \ ˈfōr-ˌthȯt \

Kids Definition of forethought

: careful thinking or planning for the future

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on forethought

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


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!