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[fawr-see, fohr-] /fɔrˈsi, foʊr-/
verb (used with object), foresaw, foreseen, foreseeing.
to have prescience of; to know in advance; foreknow.
to see beforehand.
verb (used without object), foresaw, foreseen, foreseeing.
to exercise foresight.
Origin of foresee
before 900; Middle English; Old English foresēon. See fore-, see1
Related forms
foreseeable, adjective
foreseeability, noun
foreseer, noun
unforeseeable, adjective
unforeseeableness, noun
unforeseeably, adverb
unforeseeing, adjective
unforeseen, adjective
well-foreseen, adjective
1. divine, discern. See predict. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for foresee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If I foresee a dearth, may I not keep my commodity till then?

  • Some war, some plague, or famine they foresee, Some revelation hid from you and me.

    Essay on Man Alexander Pope
  • It was a situation which neither of us could foresee nor prevent.

    Parrot & Co. Harold MacGrath
  • Nobody can foresee these and speculate upon them with success.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • He said it was impossible to foresee what would be the fluctuations of popular opinion.

British Dictionary definitions for foresee


verb -sees, -seeing, -saw, -seen
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to see or know beforehand: he did not foresee that
Derived Forms
foreseeable, adjective
foreseer, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for foresee

Old English foreseon "have a premonition," from fore- "before" + seon "to see, see ahead" (see see (v.)). Related: Foresaw; foreseeing; foreseen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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