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)


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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

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 Though Allen’s generally opaque tone held few mysteries, his opening statement showed considerable craft and forethought. Howard Reich,, "Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen celebrate swing," 9 Feb. 2018 Intentional laziness parenting requires forethought, planning and self-control. Scott Lutostanski,, "The compelling case for being an 'intentionally lazy' parent," 10 Apr. 2018 In addition, their mental well-being was assessed, as was their trait impulsivity, which is a measure of a person's propensity to behave with little forethought or consideration of consequences. Deborah Netburn,, "Nature boosts your mental health, and you don't even have to leave the city to reap the benefits," 11 Jan. 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.

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First Known Use of forethought


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

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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

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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