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

With the prognosis still unknown, the Perez family is praying Angel leaves the hospital with his life and limbs. CBS News, "Man could lose limbs after contracting flesh-eating bacteria in New Jersey waters," 11 July 2018 The surprising part was that the 100 'extended survivors’ don’t appear to have the usual characteristics associated with a good prognosis. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "Scientists created a brain-cancer vaccine - and so far it's 'remarkably promising'," 30 May 2018 Find more information about screening, treatment, prognosis and support options at N.C. Health Info (, the American Cancer Society ( and the Mayo Clinic ( Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "'I got 13 good years.' With prostate cancer in his bones, here's his message for men. | Charlotte Observer," 24 May 2018 In summer 2017, he was diagnosed with a tumor called a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, with a generally poor prognosis. Sean Sullivan,, "Lindsey Graham encouraged after visiting John McCain: ‘No talking about funerals’," 10 May 2018 Last summer he was diagnosed with a tumor called a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer with a generally poor prognosis. Sean Sullivan, Washington Post, "Lindsey Graham is encouraged after visiting John McCain: ‘No talking about funerals’," 10 May 2018 When Bobbie Jo Ledford adopted a St. Bernard named Odin in November, there was no way to know that in five months a veterinarian would deliver a crushing prognosis: Terminal cancer. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Woman creates "bucket list" for terminally ill St. Bernard," 5 July 2018 The Post said in an editorial after Mr. Krauthammer had announced his cancer prognosis. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Charles Krauthammer, Prominent Conservative Voice, Dies at 68," 21 June 2018 Police told The Denver Post that the injured man was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg but had a good prognosis. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "A dancing FBI agent shot him in the leg. Now he's getting free drinks for life," 5 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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Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for prognosis

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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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