To foretell is to predict or hint at something. Some people believe that two crows foretell good luck for the person who sees them.

Signs and omens foretell good or bad fortune, and symbolism in the early chapters of a novel can foretell events that happen near the end of the book. Longtime sailors sometimes say that a pink morning sky foretells bad weather later in the day. In each case, something is being foreshadowed or forecast. Fore is an Old English prefix that means “before” or “earlier,” and it’s combined here with tell, “to reckon or consider.”

Definitions of foretell
  1. verb

    foreshadow or presage

    announce, annunciate, harbinger, herald
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    type of:


    let something be known

  2. verb

    indicate by signs

    augur, auspicate, betoken, bode, forecast, foreshadow, omen, portend, predict, prefigure, presage, prognosticate
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    to be a menacing indication of something:”The clouds threaten rain”

    foretell by divine inspiration
    type of:

    bespeak, betoken, indicate, point, signal

    be a signal for or a symptom of

  3. verb

    make a prediction about; tell in advance

    anticipate, call, forebode, predict, prognosticate, promise
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    interpret the significance of, as of palms, tea leaves, intestines, the sky; also of human behavior
    outguess, second-guess

    attempt to anticipate or predict

    predict from an omen
    bet, wager

    maintain with or as if with a bet
    calculate, forecast

    predict in advance
    prophesy, vaticinate

    predict or reveal through, or as if through, divine inspiration

    divine by gazing into crystals

    foretell through or as if through the power of prophecy
    enlighten, irradiate

    give spiritual insight to; in religion
    type of:

    guess, hazard, pretend, venture

    put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation

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