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From praesciēns (foreknowing; foretelling, predicting), present participle of) Latin praesciō (to foreknow), from prae- (prefix meaning ‘before; in front’) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *preh₂- (before; in front)) + sciō (to know, understand; to have knowledge of) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *skey- (to dissect; to split)). The word is cognate with Middle French prescient (modern French prescient (prescient)), Italian presciente (prescient).[1]



prescient (comparative more prescient, superlative most prescient)

  1. Exhibiting or possessing prescience: having knowledge of, or seemingly able to correctly predict, events before they take place. [from early 17th c.]
    Synonyms: clairvoyant, foreknowing, foreseeing, (obsolete) prescious, (rare) prescientific, prevoyant
    Antonym: unforeseeing
    • 1733–1734, Stephen Duck, A Poem on the Marriage of His Serene Highness the Prince of Orange with Ann Princess-royal of Great Britain. [], London: Printed for Weaver Bickerton [], →OCLC, page 7:
      And if the præſcient Muſes guide my Lay, / Or, future Secrets, Phœbus can diſplay, / The Day ſhall ſhine diſtinguiſh'd from the reſt, / That Anna dignify'd, and Hymen bleſt; []
    • 1753, Virgil, “Virgil’s Æneid. The Seventh Book.”, in Christopher Pitt, transl., edited by [Joseph Warton], The Works of Virgil, in Latin and English. [], volume III, London: Printed for R[obert] Dodsley [], →OCLC, page 283, lines 103–104:
      Mean time the king, aſtoniſh'd at the ſign, / Haſtes to conſult his præſcient ſire divine.
    • [1812], William Grisenthwaite, Sleep, a Poem in Two Books, with Other Miscellaneous Poems, [], Lynn: Printed for the author, by W. G. Whittingham, and sold by R. Baldwin, [], →OCLC, book I, page 5, lines 77–79:
      Benignant Heaven, præscient and kind, / Made man for toil, and left sweet Sleep behind, / To nerve the arm which labour had unstrung— []
    • 1832, Jedadiah Cleishbotham [pseudonym; Walter Scott], chapter XIII, in Tales of My Landlord, Fourth and Last Series. [], volume II (Count Robert of Paris), Edinburgh: [] [Ballantyne and Company] for Robert Cadell; London: Whittaker and Co., →OCLC, pages 310–311:
      It seems that human nature, when its original habits are cultivated and attended to, possesses something upon the same occasion of that prescient foreboding, which announces the approaching tempest to the inferior ranks of creation.
    • 1859 November 26 – 1860 August 25, [William] Wilkie Collins, “The Narrative of Walter Hartright, of Clement’s Inn, London”, in The Woman in White. [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, [], published 1860, →OCLC, part I, section IX, page 29, column 2:
      The kind sorrowful blue eyes looked at me for a moment with the prescient sadness of a coming and a long farewell.
    • 1960 August 24, Roy Emile Jack, “Business of the House—Urgency”, in Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): Fourth Session, Thirty-second Parliament: House of Representatives, volume 323, Wellington: R. E. Owen, government printer, →OCLC, page 1740:
      Members opposite seem to be prescient; they seem to know what I am going to say before I have said it.
    • 2018 January 28, Dafydd Pritchard, “Cardiff City 1 – 1 Manchester City”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 17 March 2018:
      [Neil] Warnock described City as the best team in Europe in the build-up to this match and joked that his players had been preparing for the game – and City's inevitable dominance – by training without a ball. It proved to be a prescient quip, as the home side had to toil for long periods, struggling to lay a glove on their stylish opponents.

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  1. ^ Compare “prescient, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2007.

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  • IPA(key): /pʁɛ.sjɑ̃/, /pʁe.sjɑ̃/
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prescient (feminine presciente, masculine plural prescients, feminine plural prescientes)

  1. prescient

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