[fawr-shad-oh, fohr-]
verb (used with object)
to show or indicate beforehand; prefigure: Political upheavals foreshadowed war.

1570–80; fore- + shadow

foreshadower, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To foreshadowing
World English Dictionary
foreshadow (fɔːˈʃædəʊ)
(tr) to show, indicate, or suggest in advance; presage

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1570s, from fore + shadow; the notion is of a shadow thrown before an advancing material object as an image of something suggestive of what is to come. Related: Foreshadowed; foreshadowing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


the organization and presentation of events and scenes in a work of fiction or drama so that the reader or observer is prepared to some degree for what occurs later in the work. This can be part of the general atmosphere of the work, or it can be a specific scene or object that gives a clue or hint as to a later development of the plot. The disastrous flood that occurs at the end of George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860), for example, is foreshadowed by many references to the river and to water in general throughout the book.

Learn more about foreshadowing with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The paper explores the writer's style and subtle use of detail and foreshadowing.
Follow with definitions of dramatic irony and foreshadowing and a discussion of their importance.
If the novel was haltingly plotted and full of foreshadowing, the film has similar trouble.
The film is done in by its own heavy-handed foreshadowing and by the simplicity of its characters.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature