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

Essential Meaning of prognosis

1 : a doctor's opinion about how someone will recover from an illness or injury Right now, doctors say his prognosis is/isn't good.
2 : a judgment about what is going to happen in the future The president had a hopeful prognosis about the company's future.

Full 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 Metastatic breast cancer in the bones is not curable, and the prognosis typically isn't as positive as earlier-stage cancers. Jessie Van Amburg,, 15 Sep. 2021 Since this has been going on for years, the prognosis isn’t good. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 28 June 2021 The prognosis was serious, and competing didn’t feel right. Hilary Levey Friedman, Glamour, 7 May 2021 Brain tumors are a terrible diagnosis, particularly glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive brain tumors, where the prognosis is only 15 months. Jill Griffin, Forbes, 4 May 2021 Treatment for this disease can be tough, but the prognosis is good. New York Times, 14 Apr. 2021 The court’s ruling in July came less than a month after the death of Yolanda Chaparro, a 71-year-old Colombian woman with ALS who had requested euthanasia a year earlier but was rejected because her prognosis was not deemed terminal. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 Her prognosis was grim, but that didn’t stop Johnson. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 29 Sep. 2021 His prognosis was unknown Monday, sheriff’s officials said. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for prognosis

Time Traveler

The first known use of prognosis was in 1655

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prognosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for prognosis


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

More from Merriam-Webster on prognosis

Nglish: Translation of prognosis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prognosis for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prognosis


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