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 prescience (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 Biden instead took credit for his prescience about the virus. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "'Things will get worse before they get better': Biden's grim COVID-19 speech offers contrast with Trump," 29 Dec. 2020 Once again, there was some irony and, perhaps, prescience as well. James Hibberd,, "Trump lost the 2020 election in the most ironic way possible," 7 Nov. 2020 Indulging in the grotesque is what has given these films their prescience. Blair Mcclendon, New York Times, "The ‘Purge’ Films Reveal the Ugly Truth About America," 27 Oct. 2020 The film's prescience is as eerie as its conclusions are disturbing. Thomas Page, CNN, "TIFF 2020 kicks off a strange start to the Oscars race," 18 Sep. 2020 The prescience of Bergstrom and West’s methods now haunts us every day in the data chicanery underlying the Covid-19 catastrophe in the United States. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "Calling Bullshit Skewers the World’s BS Merchants," 4 Aug. 2020 Besides stars Lathan and Epps, Prince-Bythewood’s eye for casting demonstrated an uncanny prescience. Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, "20 years later, the cast and crew of ‘Love & Basketball’ consider its legacy in an oral history," 21 Apr. 2020 For weeks, venture capitalists and founders had been tweeting about their own prescience, attributing their cautionary measures to familiarity with the sort of exponential growth curves exhibited by successful startups. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "San Francisco Shelters in Place," 20 Mar. 2020 In retrospect, despite the Sentinel’s prescience, journalistic carelessness caused the project to backfire, and thus miss its target. Gerald Posner, Wired, "The Mom Who Took on Purdue Pharma for Its OxyContin Marketing," 23 Mar. 2020

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

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prescience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of prescience

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

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