9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[fawr-tel, fohr-] /fɔrˈtɛl, foʊr-/
verb (used with object), foretold, foretelling.
to tell of beforehand; predict; prophesy.
Origin of foretell
1250-1300; Middle English fortell. See fore-, tell1
Related forms
foreteller, noun
unforetold, adjective
forecast, augur, presage, forebode. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for foretell
  • In a sense, we've been using genetics to foretell disease risk forever.
  • Those pictures foretell the main directions the recording industry would take throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
  • They claim that they can contact the dead and foretell somebody's future.
  • We can't foretell where the next big breakthroughs will happen.
  • They should have something to foretell market players, and try to avoid such abrupt reactions.
  • Yet the bare figures do not, on the face of things, foretell anything so drastic.
  • It is impossible to foretell whether any of the above achievements will turn out to be world-changing.
  • Ours is not the first age to believe it could foretell the future.
  • His power to foretell events seems to have been believed in both by himself and by his parishioners.
  • Whether or not it will be permanent is difficult to foretell.
British Dictionary definitions for foretell


verb -tells, -telling, -told
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to tell or indicate (an event, a result, etc) beforehand; predict
Derived Forms
foreteller, 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 foretell

c.1300, from fore- + tell (v.). Related: Foretold; foretelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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