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

We’re feeling really good about his prognosis as far as getting started. Brad Biggs,, "Bears Q&A: Could Bears trade for Jaguars' Dante Fowler? Will any Bears make the Pro Bowl this year?," 17 May 2018 Although cancer prognosis is the easiest to predict, cancer patients often spend only a few days in hospice. Stacey Burling,, "How to know when it's time for hospice," 22 June 2018 Krugman’s gloomy prognosis was likely shared by millions of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump. Harold Clarke, Washington Post, "The 'Trump Bump' in the stock market is real. But it’s not helping Trump.," 6 Mar. 2018 What's the long-term prognosis for shortstop Orlando Arcia? Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers Podcast: Chatting with Jesus Aguilar and farm director Tom Flanagan, plus why are the Brewers so hesitant to use the 10-day DL?," 2 July 2018 The short-term prognosis for the Celtics is extremely disappointing. Rohan Nadkarni,, "Kyrie Irving’s Knee Surgery Closes Book on Once Promising Season," 5 Apr. 2018 In a survey led by researchers at University College London of over 12,000 prognoses of the life span of terminally ill patients, the hits and misses were wide-ranging. Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times, "This Cat Sensed Death. What if Computers Could, Too?," 3 Jan. 2018 Officials have not offered a prognosis for Skripal and his daughter., "Russian Ex-Spy Case Needs ‘Cool Head,’ British Minister Says," 3 Apr. 2018 But this summer — barring some unforeseen surprise or a bombshell report about Leonard’s long-term prognosis — none of that will matter. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "For Leonard, Spurs, divorce makes no sense," 16 Mar. 2018

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

18 Apr 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).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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