pre·​science | \ ˈpre-sh(ē-)ən(t)s How to pronounce prescience (audio) , ˈprē-, -s(ē-)ən(t)s \

Definition of prescience

: foreknowledge of events:
a : divine omniscience
b : human anticipation of the course of events : foresight

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Other Words from prescience

prescient \ ˈpre-​sh(ē-​)ənt How to pronounce prescient (audio) , ˈprē-​ , -​s(ē-​)ənt \ adjective
presciently adverb

Synonyms for prescience


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Did You Know?

If you know the origin of "science," you already know half the story of "prescience." "Science" comes from the Latin verb scire, which means "to know" and which is the source of many English words ("conscience," "conscious," and "omniscience," just to name a few). "Prescience" comes from the Latin verb praescire, which means "to know beforehand." "Praescire" joins the verb "scire" with the prefix prae-, a predecessor of "pre-." A lesser-known "scire"-derived word is "nescience." Nescience means "ignorance" and comes from "scire" plus "ne-," which means "not" in Latin.

Examples of prescience in a Sentence

He predicted their response with amazing prescience. Her prescience as an investor is impressive.
Recent Examples on the Web His prescience to trade up and select quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the No. oregonlive, "Super Bowl 2020: 5 reasons why Kansas City will defeat the San Francisco 49ers," 1 Feb. 2020 But other years, the prize has been more noteworthy for controversy than prescience. Washington Post, "The real Turner art prize is the aesthetic riddle we pondered along the way," 4 Dec. 2019 But whether by sheer luck or keen prescience, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is the movie for right now. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "No Other Comedy Captures the Spirit of 2019 Like Parasite," 10 Oct. 2019 People who’d never heard of Earthsea or the Ekumen began heralding her presciences and quoting her many wisdoms. Jason Kehe, Wired, "The 20 Best Books of a Decade That Unmade Genre Fiction," 29 Dec. 2019 That allows gamblers to profit from their prescience, but also broadens the scope for bribery. Washington Post, "Sports Betting," 2 Dec. 2019 Such prescience bore fruit when the 1958 NFL championship between the Giants and Colts was, indeed, tied through four quarters. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Bert Bell was more than the father of the NFL draft," 20 Sep. 2019 And, while it hasn’t been eulogized with the same fanfare as the other formative HBO dramas, to my eye, Six Feet Under’s vision of a diverse and porous postnuclear family is unrivaled in both prescience and earned sentiment. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 Both Padres rookies have a presence — even a prescience — that belies their age and experience level. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Quantrill, Tatis get it done; Urias’ perfect night; Morejon to open," 28 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prescience.' 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 prescience

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prescience

Middle English, from Late Latin praescientia, from Latin praescient-, praesciens, present participle of praescire to know beforehand, from prae- + scire to know — more at science

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Time Traveler for prescience

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

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Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prescience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce prescience (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prescience

formal : the ability to know what will or might happen in the future

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