Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

presage [noun pres-ij; verb pres-ij, pri-seyj]
1 adjective:
1a Be a sign or warning of (an imminent event, typically an unwelcome one)
1b (archaic, of a person) predict
2 noun:
2a An omen or portent; warning or indication of the future
2b (archaic) A feeling of presentiment or foreboding


In the Optimist production, this number is sung twice; its first appearance comes at the top of the show and is rendered by Hero, who unwittingly presages the way she herself will later be undone by Claudio. (Mike Fischer, Much Ado About Nothing leans hard on gags Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2017)

Rather than zoom in on a single disorienting upheaval in a character’s life, the novel endeavors to show how, these days, every aspect of everyone’s life feels threatened, and how every decision seems to presage a duel between individual survival and collective action. (Lauren Oyler, Are Novels Trapped by the Present?The New Yorker, 2020)

These stamps are not a response to recent events, but a presage - Toguo has been exploring these ideas for years. As early as the mid-1990s, he was working on a series of confrontational performances entitled Transit. (Dale Berning Sawa, Unfamiliar territory: artists navigate the complexities of the refugee crisis The Guardian, 2017)

In their eyes it was blood, and a presage of dreadful slaughter. (Emily Sarah Holt, Robin Tremayne: A Story of the Marian Persecutio)

But your face to-night is like a presage of calamity, like the dull, livid sky that goes before a thunderstorm. (M E Braddon, Phantom Fortune)


Late Middle English (as a noun): via French from Latin praesagium, from praesagire 'forebode', from prae 'before' + sagire 'perceive keenly'. (Oxford English Dictionary)

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 ('to forecast snow'). Prophesy connotes inspired or mystic knowledge of the future ('prophesying a new messiah'). Presage may apply to suggesting a coming event or indicating its likelihood. (Merriam-Webster)

Tags: archaic, latin, middle english, middle french, wordsmith: sallymn

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