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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 unforeseeable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The unforeseeable had now occurred, something which reduced all else to mere triviality.

    The Price of Love Arnold Bennett
  • In so far as we are geometricians, then, we reject the unforeseeable.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • This blow had fallen entirely and utterly unforeseen, but he acknowledged grimly that it had not been unforeseeable.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • No, nothing had been unforeseeable; and in what light did that fact leave him?

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • It insists upon the old, the past, and passes lightly over the operation of the genuinely novel and unforeseeable.

  • Man is hemmed in as to thought and action on all sides by all kinds of mysterious forces working in unforeseeable ways.

    Ethics John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
  • What you call an unforeseeable form is only a new arrangement of old elements.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
British Dictionary definitions for unforeseeable


not able to be foreseen or known beforehand


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 unforeseeable

1670s, from un- (1) "not" + foreseeable (see foresee). Related: Unforeseeably.



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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