Something that is a sign of things to come can be said to prefigure the future thing — and usually not in a good way.

Sleeping through your alarm Monday morning might prefigure your entire week — in other words, it might be a sign of the unlucky days ahead.English is rich in terms that have the basic meaning of "tell something about the future." Perhaps because we all wish we knew more about it! The Latin root of prefigure is praefigurare, from prae, "before," and figurare , "to form or shape."

Definitions of prefigure
  1. verb
    indicate by signs
    synonyms: augur, auspicate, betoken, bode, forecast, foreshadow, foretell, omen, portend, predict, 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
  2. verb
    imagine or consider beforehand
    “It wasn't as bad as I had prefigured
    see moresee less
    type of:
    conceive of, envisage, ideate, imagine
    form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case
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