The Meaning of Prescient: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of prescient? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word prescient, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word prescient mean?

According to American Heritage and Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word prescient is an adjective that describes something that has or shows knowledge of events before they take place. Warnings of an earthquake in Santa Rita, Brazil could be considered prescient, or a thundering in the distance could be prescient of a major storm. A surge in oil prices could be prescient of corruption. Sometimes an author might use prescience, the noun form of prescient, in a narrative or novel structure to create foreshadowing. 

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean prescient. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are college cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound alike while retaining a similar meaning across languages. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for prescient is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Czech: vnímavý‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: οξυδερκής‎
  •  Spanish: perspicaz‎
  •  Swedish: insiktsfull‎, klarsynt‎
  •  Italian: perspicace‎, acuto‎
  •  French: perspicace‎, pertinent‎
  •  Dutch: opmerkzaam‎
  •  Tagalog: watasin‎
  •  Finnish: havaintokykyinen‎, tarkkanäköinen‎, terävä‎
  •  Romanian: perspicace‎, perceptiv‎
  •  Irish: airitheach‎, braiteach‎, céadfach‎, céadfaíoch‎, grinn‎, léirsteanach‎,  mothaitheach‎
  •  Russian: восприи́мчивый‎
  •  Portuguese: perceptivo‎, perspicaz‎

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word prescient?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word prescient. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary or avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word prescient is provided by Thesaurus. 

  •  knows what’s what
  •  discreet
  •  sensitive
  •  incisive
  •  commonsensical
  •  foresighted
  •  discerning
  •  responsive
  •  percipient
  •  wise
  •  cautious
  •  provident
  •  brainy
  •  cool-headed
  •  far-seeing
  •  insighted
  •  perspicacious
  •  judicious
  •  sophic
  •  savvy
  •  wise to
  •  farsighted
  •  gnostic
  •  rational
  •  intuitive
  •  penetrating
  •  knowledgeable
  •  sage
  •  astute
  •  conscious
  •  tuned in
  •  acute
  •  perceptive
  •  keen
  •  clairvoyant
  •  penetrative
  •  ear to the ground
  •  alert
  •  aware
  •  levelheaded
  •  well-balanced
  •  insightful
  •  sagacious
  •  sharp
  •  quick
  •  prudent
  •  awake
  •  knowing
  •  fore
  •  politic
  •  shrewd
  •  canny
  •  observant

There are also numerous words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word prescient. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word prescient is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  cockamamy
  •  unwise
  •  mad
  •  astigmatic
  •  loony
  •  nearsighted
  •  half-witted
  •  unintelligent
  •  asinine
  •  short-sighted
  •  stupid
  •  simple
  •  irrational
  •  doltish
  •  ill-considered
  •  indiscreet
  •  impractical
  •  feebleminded
  •  imprudent
  •  unreasonable
  •  witless
  •  ludicrous
  •  silly
  •  half-baked
  •  lunatic
  •  myopic
  •  nutty
  •  foolish
  •  nerdy
  •  nonsensical
  •  careless
  •  headlong
  •  idiotic
  •  unwary
  •  ridiculous
  •  injudicious
  •  unsagacious
  •  crazy
  •  fatuous
  •  blind
  •  weak
  •  harebrained
  •  absurd
  •  zany
  •  moronic
  •  wacky
  •  imbecilic
  •  ill-advised
  •  improvident
  •  daft
  •  jerky
  •  senseless
  •  incautious
  •  dotty
  •  fantastic
  •  dippy
  •  rash
  •  imperceptive
  •  kooky
  •  daffy
  •  preposterous
  •  brainless
  •  impolitic
  •  insane

What is the origin of the word prescient?

According to Etymonline, the word prescient has been used since the 1620s to describe someone who is psychic or foreknowledge. This comes from the Old French prescient, a 15th century word, and the Latin praescient and Latin praescientem, the nominative Latin praesciēns, the present participle of ​praescīr​e and the Latin ​​​praescire, a Latin verb meaning to know in advance. This comes from the prefix prae meaning before or pre, and the Latin scire/scīre, meaning to know. Related words include presciently (adv.), prescience (n.) and science. This word is of Indo-European roots, namely the Proto-Indo-European root skei.

How can the word prescient be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways that the word prescient can be used in a sentence. This can either be used to describe someone or something that provides a keen insight into the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is psychic or clairvoyant, but it can mean that they are good at predicting things or have a knowledge or insight to anticipate what may happen in the future. Below are a few examples of how the word prescient can be used in a sentence. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Using words in a sentence is a great way to learn their definition and incorporate them into your vocabulary. 

Dorrie had a keen insight into the kind sorrowful blue eyes of the talented actress; they said a prescient long farewell, which would be the last time she saw her before she entered the psychiatric ward. 

F​​​itzgerald’s prediction was a prescient memoranda of The Russian Revolution, the Battle of Seattle, the meltdown of the Soviet Union, and the probable course of postwar relations. 

The study of America was prescient on the changes in local markets, as well as the avalanches of aid and promises made to the third world countries.

He decided to mention his viewpoint on pacifism – little did he know this would be indicative of a prescient sadness of a coming meltdown in the case of his son John.

Her good judgment and forethinking mindset were prescient to the significance of events that would follow last November, and are still meaningful today.

Stephenson’s vision of his life at Princeton University was surprisingly prescient – he had the exact experience he predicted. 

The film critic had prescient insight as to the root cause of ​Connery’s anger.

Overall, the word prescient means forward thinking or knowing what will happen int he future. You will find this word in many English dictionaries that will provide English definitions of the word. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. PRESCIENT Synonyms: 3 Synonyms & Antonyms for PRESCIENT | Thesaurus 
  2. SHORTSIGHTED Synonyms: 26 Synonyms & Antonyms for SHORTSIGHTED | Thesaurus 
  3. prescient | Origin and meaning of prescient | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Prescience | Definition of Prescience | Merriam-Webster 
  5. Prescient | American Heritage Dictionary Entry
  6. Prescient | Word Sense