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verb (used with object), proph·e·sied, proph·e·sy·ing.
  1. to foretell or predict.
  2. to indicate beforehand.
  3. to declare or foretell by or as if by divine inspiration.
  4. to utter in prophecy or as a prophet.
verb (used without object), proph·e·sied, proph·e·sy·ing.
  1. to make predictions.
  2. to make inspired declarations of what is to come.
  3. to speak as a mediator between God and humankind or in God's stead.
  4. Archaic. to teach religious subjects.

Origin of prophesy

1350–1400; Middle English; v. use of variant of prophecy (fully distinguished in form and meaning in the 18th century)
Related formsproph·e·si·a·ble, adjectiveproph·e·si·er, nounun·proph·e·sied, adjective
Can be confusedprophecy prophesy

Synonyms for prophesy

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1. augur, prognosticate. See predict. 3. divine. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for prophesy


verb -sies, -sying or -sied
  1. to reveal or foretell (something, esp a future event) by or as if by divine inspiration
  2. (intr) archaic to give instruction in religious subjects
Derived Formsprophesiable, adjectiveprophesier, noun

Word Origin for prophesy

C14 prophecien, from prophecy
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 prophesy

mid-14c., prophecein, prophesein, from Old French prophecier (13c.), from prophecie (see prophecy). The noun and verb spellings were not fully differentiated until 18c. Related: Prophesied; prophesying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper