prog·​no·​sis | \ präg-ˈnō-səs How to pronounce prognosis (audio) \
plural prognoses\ präg-​ˈnō-​ˌsēz How to pronounce prognoses (audio) \

Definition of prognosis

1 : the prospect of recovery as anticipated from the usual course of disease or peculiarities of the case

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Prognosis Is Not Just a Medical Term

With its prefix pro-, meaning "before", prognosis means basically "knowledge beforehand" of how a situation is likely to turn out. Prognosis was originally a strictly medical term, but it soon broadened to include predictions made by experts of all kinds. Thus, for example, economists are constantly offering prognoses (notice the irregular plural form) about where the economy is going, and climate scientists regularly prognosticate about how quickly the earth's atmosphere is warming.

Examples of prognosis in a Sentence

Right now, doctors say his prognosis is good. The president had a hopeful prognosis about the company's future.

Recent Examples on the Web

Fast-forward a couple of years, however, and the prognosis is not so sunny. Gilbert Garcia,, "Get ready to pay a price for San Antonio’s homestead exemption," 9 Aug. 2019 The prognosis was simply too dicey to perform a talent transplant beyond the acquisition of fifth starter Andrew Cashner on July 13. Globe Staff,, "Complacency a familiar tune these days at Fenway Park," 1 Aug. 2019 Their second child, Patrick, who was born in 1993, also had DBA and received the same diagnosis and grim prognosis. Caitlin Keating,, "Four Brothers with Fatal Disease Fight for Their Lives: 'We Might Not Live Past Our 30s'," 29 Mar. 2018 One deputy has non-life-threatening injuries, and a second has serious injuries but his prognosis is encouraging, the sheriff’s office said., "2 deputies shot in Washington County," 8 Aug. 2019 The Arlington Republican announced his cancer diagnosis in a Facebook post Friday, saying his treatments were working and his prognosis was positive. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Texas Rep. Ron Wright still running for reelection despite lung cancer diagnosis," 29 July 2019 After surgery, officials said his prognosis was good. Howard Koplowitz |,, "Birmingham police officer fires weapon in Southtown gun battle," 18 July 2019 Yordan Álvarez remained out of the Astros starting lineup with a sore left knee on Saturday, but manager A.J. Hinch sounded optimistic about the rookie slugger's prognosis. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros confident Yordan Álvarez will return soon," 29 June 2019 Advertising Under New Jersey’s law, only patients who are irreversibly terminally ill and have a prognosis of six months or less to live could acquire medication to end their lives. Mike Catalini, The Seattle Times, "New Jersey law allows terminally ill to get life-ending meds," 13 Apr. 2019

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

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prognosis

Late Latin, from Greek prognōsis, literally, foreknowledge, from progignōskein to know before, from pro- + gignōskein to know — more at know

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Statistics for prognosis

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for prognosis

The first known use of prognosis was in 1655

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More Definitions for prognosis



English Language Learners Definition of prognosis

: a doctor's opinion about how someone will recover from an illness or injury
: a judgment about what is going to happen in the future


prog·​no·​sis | \ präg-ˈnō-səs How to pronounce prognosis (audio) \
plural prognoses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce prognoses (audio) \

Medical Definition of prognosis

1 : the act or art of foretelling the course of a disease
2 : the prospect of survival and recovery from a disease as anticipated from the usual course of that disease or indicated by special features of the case the prognosis is poor because of the accompanying cardiovascular disease— P. A. Mead et al

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Comments on prognosis

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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