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From Middle English forseen, forsen, from Old English forsēon (to look down upon, despise), equivalent to for- +‎ see. Compare Old Saxon farsehan, Old High German farsehan (Middle High German versehen).


forsee (third-person singular simple present forsees, present participle forseeing, simple past forsaw, past participle forseen)

  1. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Scotland) To neglect; overlook; disregard; despise.
    • 1882, Victor Roy, A Masonic Poem by Harriet Annie Wilkins:
      Could I forsee the sunken rocks of life?
  2. Alternative spelling of foresee
    • 1841, Gordon, History of Scots Affairs, from 1637 - 1641 (quote from 1638):
      The reasone why the Commissioner did so muche presse the reading of the declinator was, because he forsaw that they meant to putt him to a dilemma which still should bring ane inconvenience along with it [...]
  3. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Scotland) To oversee; superintend; direct.

See also[edit]


  • OED 2nd edition 1989
  • Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary, Forsee.