fore·​see | \ fȯr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio) \
foresaw\ fȯr-​ˈsȯ How to pronounce foresee (audio) \; foreseen\ fȯr-​ˈsēn How to pronounce foresee (audio) \; foreseeing

Definition of foresee

transitive verb

: to see (something, such as a development) beforehand He could not have foreseen the consequences of his actions. She foresaw the company's potential and invested early on.

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Other Words from foresee

foreseer \ fȯr-​ˈsē-​ər How to pronounce foresee (audio) , -​ˈsir \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for foresee

foresee, foreknow, divine, anticipate mean to know beforehand. foresee implies nothing about how the knowledge is derived and may apply to ordinary reasoning and experience. economists should have foreseen the recession foreknow usually implies supernatural assistance, as through revelation. if only we could foreknow our own destinies divine adds to foresee the suggestion of exceptional wisdom or discernment. was able to divine Europe's rapid recovery from the war anticipate implies taking action about or responding emotionally to something before it happens. the waiter anticipated our every need

Examples of foresee in a Sentence

We couldn't have foreseen the consequences of our actions. He foresees a day when all war will cease. She foresaw the company's potential and invested early on.
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Recent Examples on the Web Others like Erol Yayboke, senior fellow with the nonprofit policy research organization International Security Program foresee a lasting impact on human global mobility. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2021 The central bank's staff projections foresee inflation of only 1.7% next year and 1.5% in 2023, short of the bank's goal of 2% considered best for the economy. David Mchugh, ajc, 1 Oct. 2021 Basically, the folks predicting the future value of cars in 2018 didn’t foresee a global pandemic, followed by people moving from the city to the suburbs and working from home, followed by a global microchip shortage. Karl Brauer, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 However, Hanlee doesn’t foresee any significant disruptions to Macau’s most important industry. Zinnia Lee, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 Why didn't the US intelligence community foresee the Taliban's ability to seize control of the country so quickly? Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 Cameron Artis-Payne didn’t foresee the CFL in his football future two years ago. Mark Inabinett |, al, 25 July 2021 John Locke was arguably the first person to introduce the idea of the law of unintended consequences, which holds that planners cannot foresee all the ways their schemes will interact with real life. Jonah Goldberg Tribune News Service (tns), Star Tribune, 4 Dec. 2020 Ghani’s security forces could foresee defeat, and many flipped to the Taliban’s side. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 5 Sep. 2021

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for foresee

Time Traveler

The first known use of foresee was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of foresee

: to see or become aware of (something that has not yet happened)


fore·​see | \ fȯr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio) \
foresaw\ -​ˈsȯ \; foreseen\ -​ˈsēn \; foreseeing

Kids Definition of foresee

: to see or know about beforehand I didn't foresee the accident.


transitive verb
foresaw; foreseen; foreseeing

Legal Definition of foresee

: to be aware of the reasonable possibility of (as an occurrence or development) beforehand

More from Merriam-Webster on foresee

Nglish: Translation of foresee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foresee for Arabic Speakers


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