va·​tic·​i·​na·​tion və-ˌti-sə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce vaticination (audio)
: the act of prophesying

Did you know?

When George Orwell's novel 1984 was published in 1949, a displeased critic said it broke "all records for gloomy vaticination." (In Orwell's favor, another critic asserted, "It is impossible to put the book down.") While it's about as difficult to predict the future of a word as the future of the world, hindsight reveals that vaticination has endured better than other words based on Latin vates, meaning "prophet." Vaticinian ("prophetic"), vaticinar ("prophet"), vaticinatress ("prophetess"), and vaticiny ("prophesy") have all faded into obscurity (although two synonyms of prophetic, vatic and vaticinal, also keep the vates lineage alive today).

Examples of vaticination in a Sentence

the myopic prewar vaticinations that the conflict would be brief and relatively painless

Word History


borrowed from Latin vāticinātiōn-, vāticinātiō, from vāticinārī "to make divinely inspired predictions, prophesy" + -tiōn-, tiō deverbal noun suffix — more at vaticinate

First Known Use

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vaticination was in 1603


Dictionary Entries Near vaticination

Cite this Entry

“Vaticination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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