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

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.
foreseer noun

Keep scrolling for more

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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that many experts don’t foresee much change anytime soon. Andrew Joseph, STAT, 7 Aug. 2022 But this golden opportunity was challenging in ways Scully did not foresee. James Walker, The Conversation, 6 Aug. 2022 But people who understand the industry can already foresee it, and one example is fewer treatment options for desperately ill cancer patients. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2022 The Yale researchers don’t foresee the use of OrganEx to treat people anytime soon. Evan Bush, NBC News, 3 Aug. 2022 Whoever said that drastic times call for drastic measures could probably foresee a disruptor like the 2020 Covid-19 crisis. Max Hansen, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Paving the pathway to FDA approval Successfully bringing synthetic cell medicines to the market is doable only if researchers can foresee a pathway to FDA approval, which often depends on the answer to two major questions. Kira Sampson, STAT, 28 July 2022 Today, 60% of CEOs surveyed by the Conference Board foresee a recession by the end of 2023 and 55% expect inflation to stretch into next year. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, 23 June 2022 What Ciro doesn’t foresee is the lethal enthusiasm of a gang of Latvian nationalists who view the drug operation as a symbol of Russian oppression. John Anderson, WSJ, 27 July 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near foresee

Cite this Entry

“Foresee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition



fore·​see fȯr-ˈsē How to pronounce foresee (audio)
; foreseen
; foreseeing
: to see or know about beforehand
I didn't foresee the accident.

Legal Definition


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on foresee

Last Updated: 21 Sep 2022

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.