prog·​nos·​ti·​cate präg-ˈnä-stə-ˌkāt How to pronounce prognosticate (audio)
prognosticated; prognosticating

transitive verb

: to foretell from signs or symptoms : predict
: to give an indication of in advance : foreshadow
prognosticative adjective
prognosticator noun

Did you know?

Prognosticate, which ultimately traces back to the Greek word prognōstikos (“knowing beforehand, prescient”), first appears in English during the 15th century. Since that time, prognosticate has been connected with things that foreshadow events to come and with people who can prophesy or predict the future by such signs. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley used the “prophesy” sense of prognosticate in her Gothic horror novel Frankenstein as Victor Frankenstein writes of his feelings upon approaching Geneva: “I wept like a child. ‘Dear mountains! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or to mock at my unhappiness?’” Other English words stitched together from prognōstikos that you may be familiar with include the nouns prognostic and prognosis, which also have senses related to foretelling. Prognostic can mean “prophecy,” while prognosis—used often in medical contexts to refer to the prospect of a patient’s recovery—can also mean “forecast.”

Choose the Right Synonym for prognosticate

foretell, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate mean to tell beforehand.

foretell applies to the telling of the coming of a future event by any procedure or any source of information.

seers foretold the calamity

predict commonly implies inference from facts or accepted laws of nature.

astronomers predicted an eclipse

forecast adds the implication of anticipating eventualities and differs from predict in being usually concerned with probabilities rather than certainties.

forecast snow

prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future especially as the fulfilling of divine threats or promises.

prophesying a new messiah

prognosticate is used less often than the other words; it may suggest learned or skilled interpretation, but more often it is simply a colorful substitute for predict or prophesy.

prognosticating the future

Examples of prognosticate in a Sentence

using current trends to prognosticate what the workplace of the future will be like
Recent Examples on the Web The Madden series has a 65% accuracy rate, having accurately predicted the winner of the Super Bowl for 13 of the past 20 years (including prognosticating the exact score in 2015). Chris Morris, Fortune, 7 Feb. 2024 After all, there’s been plenty of prognosticating about the movies that are generating the most heat with Oscar voters and other awards bodies. Clayton Davis, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 Awards season for films is starting in earnest with festivals, prognosticating, and Vulture’s Movie Fantasy League all in full swing. Vulture, 4 Oct. 2023 Over the years, more than a few armchair critics have prognosticated the demise of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, also affectionately known as East Timor. Agio Pereira, Foreign Affairs, 26 Aug. 2014 Still, that doesn’t stop analysts, and even companies themselves, from taking a stab at prognosticating. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 26 June 2023 This enhancement facilitated through a blend of AI and human cycling experts, highlighted which riders had gone too hard and which might still have something left in the tank, pulling viewers more deeply into the race and the riders’ strain and prognosticating winners and losers. Quartz Creative For The Ey Organization, Quartz, 27 Apr. 2023 After a 6-7 start in the first baker's dozen of games, the defending champions look more mortal than many prognosticated in the early spring. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 13 Apr. 2023 Because of his stature in Silicon Valley, Dr. Moore was often called on to prognosticate about the future of science and technology. Kathleen Day, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prognosticate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prognosticate was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near prognosticate

Cite this Entry

“Prognosticate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


prog·​nos·​ti·​cate präg-ˈnäs-tə-ˌkāt How to pronounce prognosticate (audio)
prognosticated; prognosticating
prognosticator noun

Medical Definition


transitive verb
prog·​nos·​ti·​cate präg-ˈnäs-tə-ˌkāt How to pronounce prognosticate (audio)
prognosticated; prognosticating
: to make a prognosis about the probable outcome of
prognostication noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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