fortune teller

noun

variants or less commonly fortune-teller
plural fortune tellers also fortune-tellers
: someone or something with the supposed ability to foretell future events and especially the details of a person's future
For thousands of years, people have gone to fortune tellers because they wanted to know whom they would marry or whether they were going to be rich or famous.Muse
Some of the fortune-tellers he encounters are ludicrously off the mark; others are uncannily accurate.Michael Upchurch
You do not have to be a fortune teller to realize that sneezes, sniffles, plugged up noses and red eyes will be making their appearance in most of our houses within the next two months.Glenn Haege
By the early 1900s it was possible to get a "psychic reading" from a mechanical fortune teller at the local penny arcade.Ralph and Terry Koval
sometimes, specifically : a child's toy that consists of paper folded into four pyramid-shaped parts which are manipulated by the fingers to open and close with each part having a flap that can be unfolded to reveal an answer to one's question about the future : cootie catcher
Some of the most commonly made folk toys are made of paper: fortune tellers (also known as cootie catchers), paper airplanes, spitballs shot through straws … Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun
Your child may choose to decorate the fortune teller … with stickers or drawings, or to color the outside squares instead of writing the name of a color. Sally Worsham
fortune-telling noun or adjective

Examples of fortune teller in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Based on his experiences, his new novel set in the summer of 1968 features a fortune teller in a suffocating carnival, her husband, a charismatic tightrope walker who has disappeared, and their precocious 11-year-old daughter. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, 4 Feb. 2024 That aside, the old fortune teller's curse tale doesn't have much going for it, as the family is afflicted with hirsuteness (Marge), stretch-neck (Bart), ladybug body (Maggie), and horse body (Lisa), all thanks to Homer wrecking the psychic's shop. Dennis Perkins, EW.com, 24 Nov. 2023 Estelle is a fortune teller and her handsome husband, Tony, is a charismatic tightrope walker. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, 11 Feb. 2024 Nodding to his change of heart Thursday, Furman admitted economists are often poor fortune tellers. Will Daniel, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 Naturally, Bruckman becomes entangled with Mulder and Scully's investigation involving a serial killer who targets fortune tellers. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 10 Sep. 2023 Anastasia, a would-be fortune teller, exudes a brassy, flirtatious tone with the estranged wealthy couple. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2023 Across 1913 Paris, 2014 Los Angeles, and 2044 Paris, Gabrielle is haunted by recurring imagery — pigeons, fortune tellers, dolls, Madame Butterfly — as well as a deep sense of impending doom, the vague idea that something awful is going to happen to her. Rachel Handler, Vulture, 16 Sep. 2023 The Haunted Mansion’s ghostly fortune teller was named after Imagineer Leota Toombs before the ride was even finished. Vulture, 31 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fortune teller.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fortune teller was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near fortune teller

Cite this Entry

“Fortune teller.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fortune%20teller. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

fortune-teller

noun
for·​tune-tell·​er
-ˌtel-ər
: a person who claims to foretell future events
fortune-telling
-ˌtel-iŋ
noun or adjective

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