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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The artist, soon to turn 80, is battling cancer, the prognosis serious with another round of tests scheduled for next month. oregonlive, "Through his life’s work, a Portland artist captures what it means to be Black in America," 15 Oct. 2020 That said, the long-term prognosis for Muschamp at South Carolina isn't promising. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Too big to buy out: 7 college football coaches whose contracts could be a saving grace," 14 Oct. 2020 Brain tumors are graded from one to four, with a lower grade tumor carrying the better prognosis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Claire Gillespie,, "'The Wanted' Singer Tom Parker Reveals He Has an Inoperable Brain Tumor on Instagram," 12 Oct. 2020 But after a week or so of illness, the prognosis becomes clearer. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, "Trump’s COVID Case Could Be Entering a Crucial Stage," 9 Oct. 2020 Both of these are immensely personal decisions that, in most cases, require huge amounts of money, time and, in some cases, a very specific medical prognosis. Alexandra King, CNN, "What to say to women going through miscarriage and baby loss," 9 Oct. 2020 Many, though, must jump through more hoops, as lenders become increasingly concerned about the economic prognosis for the months ahead. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "What it takes for risky borrowers to get a car loan," 7 Oct. 2020 As of Tuesday morning, the Trump campaign’s prognosis is bleak. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "The VP Debate Is Mike Pence’s Final Audition for 2024," 7 Oct. 2020 Their comments seemed to throw water on the prognosis given by Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, who said the president might be able to leave Monday afternoon if his health continues to improve. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'Unnecessary risk': Fox & Friends host asks if Trump should leave Walter Reed on Monday," 5 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prognosis

Time Traveler for prognosis

Time Traveler

The first known use of prognosis was in 1655

See more words from the same year

Statistics for prognosis

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prognosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prognosis


How to pronounce prognosis (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!