verb proph·e·sy \ ˈprä-fə-ˌsī \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

Definition of prophesy

prophesied; prophesying
1 : to utter by or as if by divine inspiration
2 : to predict with assurance or on the basis of mystic knowledge
3 : prefigure
1 : to speak as if divinely inspired
2 : to give instruction in religious matters : preach
3 : to make a prediction


play \ˈprä-fə-ˌsī(-ə)r\ noun

Examples of prophesy in a Sentence

  1. The book claims that modern events were prophesied in ancient times.

  2. holy men were prophesying the coming of a new messiah

Recent Examples of prophesy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of prophesy

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

PROPHESY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of prophesy for English Language Learners

  • : to state that something will happen in the future

PROPHESY Defined for Kids


verb proph·e·sy \ ˈprä-fə-ˌsī \

Definition of prophesy for Students

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

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