noun pres·age \ˈpre-sij, also pri-ˈsāj\

Definition of presage

  1. 1 :  something that foreshadows or portends a future event :  omen

  2. 2 :  an intuition or feeling of what is going to happen in the future

  3. 3 archaic :  prognostication

  4. 4 :  warning or indication of the future


play \pri-ˈsāj-fəl\ adjective

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Examples of presage in a Sentence

  1. I had a nagging presage that the results of my medical tests would not be good.

  2. the sight of the first robin is always a welcome presage of spring

Origin and Etymology of presage

Middle English, from Latin praesagium, from praesagus having a foreboding, from prae- + sagus prophetic — more at seek



verb pre·sage \ˈpre-sij, pri-ˈsāj\

Definition of presage




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to give an omen or warning of :  foreshadow

  3. 2 :  foretell, predict

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to make or utter a prediction


noun, obsolete

Examples of presage in a Sentence

  1. Many investors are worried that the current slowdown could presage another recession.

  2. events that presaged the civil rights movement

Recent Examples of presage from the Web

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

Did You Know?

The verb presage was predated by a noun presage, meaning "omen." Both forms derive from the Latin prefix prae- combined with the adjective sagus, meaning "prophetic." Foretell, predict, forecast, prophesy, and presage all mean "to tell beforehand." Foretell applies to telling 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 implies anticipating eventualities and is usually concerned with probabilities ("to forecast snow"). Prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future ("prophesying a new messiah"). Presage may apply to suggesting a coming event or indicating its likelihood.

First Known Use of presage


PRESAGE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of presage for English Language Learners

  • : to give or be a sign of (something that will happen or develop in the future)

Seen and Heard

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to counsel, recommend, or inform

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