[fawr-tel, fohr-]

verb (used with object), fore·told, fore·tell·ing.

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 formsfore·tell·er, nounun·fore·told, adjective

Synonyms for foretell Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for foretell

Contemporary Examples of foretell

Historical Examples of foretell

  • Few of us can foretell what may or may not happen under heaven.

  • Indeed, to this hour I have a lingering belief that cats can foretell the weather.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • He cultivated the society of scholars, could interpret signs and foretell the future.

  • On the other hand, to dream of an onion is supposed in some parts to foretell sickness.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • And they do often foretell the most wonderful things; I know they do.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

British Dictionary definitions for foretell


verb -tells, -telling or -told

(tr; may take a clause as object) to tell or indicate (an event, a result, etc) beforehand; predict
Derived Formsforeteller, 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

Word Origin and History for foretell

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper