sooth·​say·​er | \ˈsüth-ˌsā-ər, -ˌser\

Definition of soothsayer 

: a person who predicts the future by magical, intuitive, or more rational means : prognosticator

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The origins are straightforward: a soothsayer is someone who says sooth. You may, however, find that less than enlightening! Sooth is an archaic word meaning "truth" or "reality" that dates from Old English and was used until about the first half of the 17th century. (It is believed to share an ancestor with words suggesting truthfulness and reality in Old Norse, Greek, Old High German, Sanskrit, Latin, and Gothic languages.) Soothsayer itself has been documented in print as far back as the 14th century. Today, it is also a moniker of the insect the mantis, whose name means "prophet" in Greek.

Examples of soothsayer in a Sentence

a soothsayer predicted that I would meet the man of my dreams online, assuming of course that I became a subscriber to the Web site's dating service

Recent Examples on the Web

The Carpathian mountains have always had a magical air; the region is home to the country’s last shamans, fortune-tellers and soothsayers who carry on an ancient Eurasian tradition. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 Well, spend much time around the Padres, and the question becomes what the pitchers would do without their guru/sensei/soothsayer and counselor/mentor/teacher/friend. Kevin Acee,, "Padres pitchers positive Darren Balsley is the best," 16 June 2018 Cassandra: Female, cleaning lady and soothsayer, any age, any race. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 15 May 2018 He's run many issue campaigns and is Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish's political soothsayer. Mark Naymik,, "CLE Chatter: Shaker Heights' messy library battle; drug-offender amendment to Ohio Constitution getting attention," 20 Apr. 2018 But as the credit crisis unfolded in 2008, the Harvard Ph.D. won sudden acclaim as a financial soothsayer. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Dr. Doom Still Basking in His Fame After Warning of Housing Collapse," 13 Apr. 2018 Wearing a white tunic and skating as a character out of Japanese folklore, Abe no Seimei, a kind of soothsayer and supernatural protector, Hanyu landed a quadruple lutz for the first time in competition. JerÉ Longman, New York Times, "The Greatest Figure Skater Ever Is Michael Jackson on Ice, Surrounded by Winnie the Poohs," 4 Jan. 2018 On New Year’s Eve, a Lebanese celebrity soothsayer predicted that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, would be advised to eat less fast food. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "When Jokes Become a Crime: Free Speech Under Fire in Lebanon," 21 Feb. 2018 What brought her fame, however, was her career as a soothsayer, adviser and nurse. Mike Scott,, "Marie Laveau, Voodoo queen of New Orleans: 1 of 300," 13 Feb. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about soothsayer

Share soothsayer

Listen to Our Podcast about soothsayer

Dictionary Entries near soothsayer








Statistics for soothsayer

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for soothsayer

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for soothsayer



English Language Learners Definition of soothsayer

: someone who makes predictions about what is going to happen in the future


sooth·​say·​er | \ˈsüth-ˌsā-ər \

Kids Definition of soothsayer

: a person who claims to foretell events

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on soothsayer

What made you want to look up soothsayer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!