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[fawr-tel, fohr-] /fɔrˈtɛl, foʊr-/
verb (used with object), foretold, foretelling.
to tell of beforehand; predict; prophesy.
Origin of foretell
First recorded in 1250-1300, foretell is from the Middle English word fortell. See fore-, tell1
Related forms
foreteller, noun
unforetold, adjective
forecast, augur, presage, forebode. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for foretold
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now learn what you must do, if you would avert all the evils which I have foretold.

  • "If the witchwife had not foretold it I should say that I dreamed," thought the old poet.

  • As the fair Rosa, with foreboding doubt, had foretold, so it happened.

    The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • As Turkey had foretold, she darted aside, and I retreated behind my stone.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
  • Where are the breakings out from Berwick to Portland which they foretold?

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • M. de Choiseul, to whom she mentioned the matter, said that the woman had also foretold fine things that were to happen to him.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
  • Ain't you heard about the fortune tellin' and how 'twas foretold she'd marry a Butler?'

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for foretold


verb -tells, -telling, -told
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to tell or indicate (an event, a result, etc) beforehand; predict
Derived Forms
foreteller, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for foretold



c.1300, from fore- + tell (v.). Related: Foretold; foretelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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