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

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 Its extinction could foretell a grim turn for Antioquia’s biodiversity and farmers. Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "To save a nearly extinct bird, Colombians are rethinking one of their biggest economic engines," 13 June 2020 Paramount has not reported the digital sales, but all this foretells new movies involving other characters from the Sega Universe. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Sonic the Hedgehog': Why Tails' surprise cameo is big as the 'remarkable' journey continues," 28 Apr. 2020 But the stars do foretell some bright spots in your kitchen’s future. Catherine Urban, Bon Appétit, "April Horoscopes: Which Bean Are You? (Yes, Beans)," 1 Apr. 2020 As foretold in the ritual, she had been beheaded by the force of the landslide. Carlo Gabuco, National Geographic, "Death rituals help restless spirits find peace in the Philippines," 9 Apr. 2019 The snow became an obstacle and not something that foretold the glorious hills or snow angels, or snowball fights, the latter having been banned in many northern cities. Joe Soucheray, Twin Cities, "Soucheray: It begins, our long descent into summer," 21 Dec. 2019 In this district, an election has long foretold a single conclusion. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "As UK sets poll date, a voter’s dilemma: Vote on party, or vote on Brexit?," 30 Oct. 2019 The confrontation at Newark Beth Israel may foretell what’s coming in other cities. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Her Colleagues Using GoFundMe. The Hospital Suspended Her.," 7 Apr. 2020 Somehow these arguments failed to foretell California becoming the fifth largest economy in the world. Kyle Whitmire, al, "Whitmire: Stop with the California comparisons, Kay Ivey," 27 Mar. 2020

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Foretell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foretell. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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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

Choose the Right Synonym for foretell

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.

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