Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 20, 2020 is:

presage • PRESS-ij  • verb

1 : to give an omen or warning of : foreshadow

2 : foretell, predict

3 : to make or utter a prediction


The sudden gloom and ominous dark clouds clearly presaged a nasty storm.

“With its ominous soundtrack and use of abrupt black screens to presage dark events, the film evokes a mood of inevitability and gloom.” — Peter Keough, The Boston Globe, 22 Oct. 2020

Did you know?

The verb presage was predated by a noun presage, meaning “omen.” Both forms derive from the Latin prefix prae- combined with the adjective sagus, meaning “prophetic.” Foretell, predict, forecast, prophesy, and presage all mean “to tell beforehand.” Foretell applies to telling of a future event by any procedure or any source of information (“seers foretold the calamity”). Predict commonly implies inference from facts or accepted laws of nature (“astronomers predicted an eclipse”). Forecast implies anticipating eventualities and is usually concerned with probabilities (“the meteorologist forecasts snow”). Prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future (“the soothsayer prophesied a new messiah”). Presage may apply to suggesting a coming event or indicating its likelihood.

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