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

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 But what sometimes gets lost in the push for early detection and fundraising is that the prognosis is not equally rosy for all patients. Barbara Brody, Good Housekeeping, "8 Common Myths About Metastatic Breast Cancer," 11 Sep. 2018 Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "McCain to discontinue medical treatment for brain cancer," 24 Aug. 2018 In response to this disheartening prognosis, many communities have committed to reinvigorating their languages through documentation, immersive education and other measures. Adam Cohen, Smithsonian, "This Musician’s Songs Give Powerful Voice to a Language in Crisis," 3 July 2018 But the prognosis typically depends on when the cancer is detected. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Is the 5-Year Survival Rate for Ovarian Cancer So Low?," 21 Nov. 2018 No matter the long-term prognosis, Mancini's arm proved vital in the Orioles' fifth inning. Jon Meoli,, "Throws by Orioles' Mancini spotlight development in left field amid defensive challenges," 22 May 2018 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

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

26 Dec 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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