To foretell is to predict or hint at something. Some people believe that two crows foretell good luck for the person who sees them.

Signs and omens foretell good or bad fortune, and symbolism in the early chapters of a novel can foretell events that happen near the end of the book. Longtime sailors sometimes say that a pink morning sky foretells bad weather later in the day. In each case, something is being foreshadowed or forecast. Fore is an Old English prefix that means "before" or "earlier," and it's combined here with tell, "to reckon or consider."

Definitions of foretell
  1. verb
    foreshadow or presage
    synonyms: announce, annunciate, harbinger, herald
    see moresee less
    type of:
    let something be known
  2. verb
    indicate by signs
    synonyms: augur, auspicate, betoken, bode, forecast, foreshadow, omen, portend, predict, prefigure, presage, prognosticate
    see moresee less
    to be a menacing indication of something:"The clouds threaten rain"
    foretell by divine inspiration
    type of:
    bespeak, betoken, indicate, point, signal
    be a signal for or a symptom of
  3. verb
    make a prediction about; tell in advance
    synonyms: anticipate, call, forebode, predict, prognosticate, promise
    see moresee less
    show 9 types...
    hide 9 types...
    interpret the significance of, as of palms, tea leaves, intestines, the sky; also of human behavior
    outguess, second-guess
    attempt to anticipate or predict
    predict from an omen
    bet, wager
    maintain with or as if with a bet
    calculate, forecast, project
    predict in advance
    prophesy, vaticinate
    predict or reveal through, or as if through, divine inspiration
    divine by gazing into crystals
    foretell through or as if through the power of prophecy
    enlighten, irradiate
    give spiritual insight to; in religion
    type of:
    guess, hazard, pretend, venture
    put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week