prog·​no·​sis | \präg-ˈnō-səs \
plural prognoses\ präg-​ˈnō-​ˌsēz \

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

Most election cybersecurity experts who spoke with Vox shared this prognosis. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 Noah Kaufman, an energy-policy researcher at Columbia and a proponent of carbon taxes, said the terrifying prognosis in Monday’s report should highlight the central role of a carbon tax in addressing climate change. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Carbon tax gets renewed attention but still faces resistance," 8 Oct. 2018 But a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives a grim prognosis about reaching that goal. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Trump Administration Forecasts 7 Degrees Fahrenheit of Global Warming by 2100," 28 Sep. 2018 His prognosis got even bleaker when Sudan, the last male of the subspecies, died in captivity last spring. New York Times, "Rhino Embryos Made in Lab to Save Nearly Extinct Subspecies," 4 July 2018 His prognosis was devastating: His family was initially told he would not live beyond the age of 5. NBC News, "'Black, queer, disabled and brilliant': Activist hopes to make history in space," 26 June 2018 Earlier in the day, a doctor had had the most difficult of conversations with her family, saying her prognosis was poor. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "'This room becomes sacred.' The heroic and heartbreaking journey of one organ donor's body," 17 May 2018 The dog has undergone surgery and his prognosis is good, according to humane society officials. Joy Johnston, ajc, "Charges sought after owner admits to amputating dog's leg with steak knife," 28 Apr. 2018 The harried emergency room environment, after all, hardly encourages thoughtful discussions about patients’ prognoses and wishes. New York Times, "Breathing Tubes Fail to Save Many Older Patients," 22 June 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

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of prognosis was in 1655

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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 \
plural prognoses\ -​ˌsēz \

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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