pre·​dict pri-ˈdikt How to pronounce predict (audio)
predicted; predicting; predicts

transitive verb

: to declare or indicate in advance
especially : foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or scientific reason
predictor noun
Choose the Right Synonym for predict

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

Example Sentences

All the local forecasters are predicting rain for this afternoon. She claims that she can predict future events. It's hard to predict how the election will turn out. Many people predicted that the store would fail, but it has done very well. Sales are predicted to be the same as last year.
Recent Examples on the Web But for those living in the southwestern U.S., the symptoms could point to Valley fever — and some scientists predict that this illness eventually could spread to other regions. Fox News, 3 Feb. 2023 Neither side can predict the outcome of the ballot measure next year, but one thing is sure: Californians will be flooded with advertisements come the fall of 2024. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 2 Feb. 2023 Our study also confirms that day-to-day variations in commutes predict the ability to do so. Bymatthew Piszczek, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2023 Now researchers have created an artificial intelligence tool that could predict whether a person will get lung cancer up to six years in advance, paving the way for doctors to spot tumors that are notoriously hard to detect early. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2023 But that seems unlikely, as physicists predict that two bubble universes colliding would be a violent event, and may even be the source of the Big Bang. Susan Lahey, Popular Mechanics, 31 Jan. 2023 The effects of this monetary expansion were just as the QTM would predict. Steve H. Hanke, National Review, 31 Jan. 2023 But none of us can predict our own trajectory with the same precision. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2023 Attorneys and other observers can often predict which way the court will land on a case based on the makeup of the panel of judges hearing it. Kevin Rectorstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'predict.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Latin praedictus, past participle of praedicere, from prae- pre- + dicere to say — more at diction

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of predict was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near predict

Cite this Entry

“Predict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


pre·​dict pri-ˈdikt How to pronounce predict (audio)
: to declare in advance : foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or reasoning
predictable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on predict

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