proph·​e·​cy ˈprä-fə-sē How to pronounce prophecy (audio)
variants or less commonly prophesy
plural prophecies also prophesies
: an inspired utterance of a prophet
: the function or vocation of a prophet
specifically : the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose
: a prediction of something to come

Examples of prophecy in a Sentence

The prophecies of the author have all come true. She has the gift of prophecy.
Recent Examples on the Web Some even believe Paul may be the messiah mentioned in their prophecies. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 21 Feb. 2024 The movie asks: Is Paul the messiah or merely a self-fulfilling prophecy? Peter Debruge, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 These non-denominational charismatics are very focused on modern prophecy, the belief that there are modern prophets. Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun, 23 Jan. 2024 Some of their prophecies fell woefully short while others proved to be strangely accurate. USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2024 Though this perception is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, with parents investing greater resources in their dragon child, the extraordinary expectations surrounding the zodiac creature speak to its deep associations with intelligence, authority and good fortune. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Feb. 2024 Voted for by key industry tastemakers, the awards have a habit of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies, with previous joint winners including a pre-fame Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith. Mark Sutherland, Variety, 1 Feb. 2024 Given that his message was Trump’s policies without the drama, the boring, drama-free advertising was a self-fulfilling prophecy of disaster. Adam Hanft, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 If local agencies, particularly county government, facilitated housing production focused on young adults, families and front-line workers, then these projections move from self-fulfilling prophecy to a big miss. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English prophecie, prophesie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin prophētīa, borrowed from Greek prophēteía "gift of interpreting the will of the gods, interpretation of a god's will," (New Testament) "gift of speaking, preaching and expounding scripture under the Holy Spirit's influence," from prophḗtēs prophet + -ia -ia entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prophecy was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near prophecy

Cite this Entry

“Prophecy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


proph·​e·​cy ˈpräf-ə-sē How to pronounce prophecy (audio)
plural prophecies
: the sayings of a prophet
: the foretelling of the future
the gift of prophecy
: something foretold : prediction

More from Merriam-Webster on prophecy

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