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


foreknowledge, foresight

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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

There’s a moment about 15 minutes into the first episode of Years and Years that made me gasp at its audacity, its prescience, its visual horror. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Near-Future Shock of Years and Years," 23 June 2019 Whether out of prescience or a convenient coincidence, American Express has a solution. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "See Inside the Exclusive American Express Lounge at the US Open," 30 Aug. 2018 At a certain point, Sharp Objects is a victim of its own prescience. Vogue, "Is Sharp Objects the Next Big Little Lies?," 3 July 2018 As anyone who has occasionally rewatched the series on Hulu can attest, things both continue to hold up and gradually gain that Simpsons-like prescience. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "A reunion with Futurama, because only one show used climactic math theorems," 10 June 2018 That’s one of several recent pieces of criticism pointing to the prescience of Mr. Cuarón’s film, set in a world where infertility has led to widespread terrorist attacks, a refugee crisis and a Britain closed to immigrants. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘No Man’s Land’ and ‘God’s Own Country’," 7 May 2018 In a quarter-century at Invesco, Woodford gained a reputation for prescience by correctly calling major swings in technology, tobacco and other stocks., "Oracle of Oxford Sees Red as Stock-Picking Powers Misfire," 27 Apr. 2018 And maybe, too, for its perhaps-accidental prescience. The thing is, there are no real scandals on Scandal; the word implies a public reaction of disgust and disapprobation. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Scandal Helped Define the Obama Era. And Maybe Predicted Trump's," 19 Apr. 2018 The divides between older and younger generations of radicals have always been wide, but Wolitzer's prescience about the coming rift between gender activists in the age of #MeToo feels particularly wise. Maris Kreizman,, "Meg Wolitzer's 'The Female Persuasion' leads the charge toward a better, feminist world," 29 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for prescience

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for prescience

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

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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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What made you want to look up prescience? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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