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

Sunday Word: Prescience

prescience [presh-uhns, -ee-uhns, pree-shuhns, -shee-uhns]
foreknowledge of events:
a : divine omniscience
b : knowledge of things before they exist or happen; foreknowledge; foresight


However, in his book on divination, he in his own person most openly opposes the doctrine of the prescience of future things. (Aurelius Augustine, The City of God)

Yet I would not surrender myself to his mood, nor permit him to see how deeply his prescience of death affected me (Ambrose Bierce, Can Such Things Be?)

The breathtaking prescience of this book is something that Wright himself plays down. "‘I made some lucky guesses, but for the most part, what people are reading as prophecy is just what experts told me would happen.’" (Kerryn Goldsworthy, Fiction reviews: Lawrence Wright's The End of October and three others, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 20)


late 14c., from Old French prescience (13c.) and directly from Late Latin praescientia 'fore-knowledge,' from praescientem, present participle of praescire 'to know in advance,' from Latin prae 'before' (see pre-) + scire 'to know' (Online Etymology Dictionary)

If you know the origin of 'science,' you already know half the story of 'prescience.' 'Science' comes from the Latin verb scire, which means 'to know' and which is the source of many English words ('conscience,' 'conscious,' and 'omniscience,' just to name a few). 'Prescience' comes from the Latin verb praescire, which means 'to know beforehand.' 'Praescire' joins the verb 'scire' with the prefix prae-, a predecessor of 'pre-.' A lesser-known 'scire'-derived word is 'nescience.' Nescience means 'ignorance' and comes from 'scire' plus 'ne-,' which means 'not' in Latin. (Merriam-Webster)

Tags: latin, noun, old french, p, wordsmith: sallymn

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