proph·​e·​sy | \ ˈprä-fə-ˌsī How to pronounce prophesy (audio) \
prophesied; prophesying

Definition of prophesy

transitive verb

1 : to utter by or as if by divine inspiration
2 : to predict with assurance or on the basis of mystic knowledge
3 : prefigure

intransitive verb

1 : to speak as if divinely inspired
2 : to give instruction in religious matters : preach
3 : to make a prediction

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Other Words from prophesy

prophesier \ ˈprä-​fə-​ˌsī(-​ə)r How to pronounce prophesier (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for prophesy

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 prophesy in a Sentence

The book claims that modern events were prophesied in ancient times. holy men were prophesying the coming of a new messiah

Recent Examples on the Web

The same change was prophesied by Thomas Edison, at the dawn of the movie age. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "Reader, I Googled It," 26 Aug. 2019 Moiriane arrives in the small town of Two Rivers and embarks on a dangerous journey with five young women and men, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or (uh-oh) destroy humanity. Eric Todisco,, "Everything to Know About Amazon's Upcoming Fantasy Series, The Wheel of Time," 14 Aug. 2019 From the heights of the hills, just as the security officer had prophesied, Futhu watched his world turn to ashes. New York Times, "The Schoolteacher and the Genocide," 8 Aug. 2019 The orchestra’s imminent death was widely prophesied. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Why is it so hard to keep an orchestra afloat? The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is not alone in its woes.," 2 Aug. 2019 If Mr Trudeau loses, the world will no longer be looking to him, as Mr Biden prophesied back in 2016. The Economist, "Looking aheadThe election in October will be a test of Canada’s liberal values," 25 July 2019 Not since Edmond Halley prophesied the appearance of his namesake comet had a scientific prediction come true so spectacularly. Devin Powell, Discover Magazine, "How the 1919 Solar Eclipse Made Einstein the World's Most Famous Scientist," 24 May 2019 One of them is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, a being who will either save or destroy humanity. Christian Holub,, "Rosamund Pike to star as Moiraine in Amazon's The Wheel of Time series," 19 June 2019 Azor Ahai is an ancient legendary hero in the religion of R'hllor—or the Lord of the Light—who is prophesied to be reincarnated. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Is Arya Stark Actually Azor Ahai, the Prince That Was Promised, on Game of Thrones?," 29 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prophesy.' 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 prophesy

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prophesy

Middle English prophesien, from Anglo-French *prophecier, from Old French, from prophecie

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Statistics for prophesy

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prophesy

The first known use of prophesy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for prophesy



English Language Learners Definition of prophesy

: to state that something will happen in the future


proph·​e·​sy | \ ˈprä-fə-ˌsī How to pronounce prophesy (audio) \
prophesied; prophesying

Kids Definition of prophesy

: foretell, predict … every time he prophesied fair weather it rained …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

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More from Merriam-Webster on prophesy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prophesy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prophesy

Spanish Central: Translation of prophesy

Nglish: Translation of prophesy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prophesy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prophesy

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to make a temporary encampment

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