soothsayer


a person who claims to predict the future

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“History is littered with powerful people undone by hubris. Julius Caesar should have ignored the cheers of the Roman crowd and paid heed to the SOOTHSAYER. The late Steve Jobs overplayed his hand at Apple as a young man and was kicked out of the company he founded.”

The Economist

Did you
know?

soothsayer
noun

- a person who is supposed to be able to foresee the future

- a person who predicts the future by magical, intuitive, or more rational means

Oxford English Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


WORD ORIGIN

“Soothsayer” is from the late 14th century sothseggere: “fortune-teller” from Old English soðsagu “the act of speaking the truth”.


ANIMAL SOOTHSAYERS

There are different kinds of soothsayers such as astrologers, fortunetellers, seers and shamans to name just a few. Even the groundhog (Murmeltier) is considered a soothsayer of sorts. When he crawls out of his burrow in the middle of February to look at his shadow, this is supposed to be an indicator of how the weather will be for the rest of winter.

Cambodia has its own “royal soothsayer”. He bases his predictions on what the royal oxen choose to eat and drink at an annual event in the capital city. The oxen are brought in and given different things to eat and drink. Based on the oxen’s preferences, the royal soothsayer then announces his agricultural forecast for the coming year. If the oxen reject water for instance, this might mean the country can expect to experience a drought. If they eat a lot, the farmers can rejoice over the prospect of a plentiful harvest.


SYNONYMS
One who predicts the future using magic, intuition or intelligence

astrologer, astrologist, astromancer, augur, channeler, chiromancer, clairvoyant, conjecturer, crystal-gazer, crystal ball gazer, diviner, evocator, forecaster, foreseer, foreteller, fortune-teller, futurologist, horoscopist, mystic, necromancer, nostradamus, oracle, palmist, palm reader, prognosticator, prophesier, Pythia, pythoness, sage, seer, seeress, shaman, SOOTHSAYER, sorcerer, spiritualist, stargazer, tarot reader, tea-leaf reader, voodoo doctor, witch, wizard


SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“We don’t need a SOOTHSAYER to tell us that the next 7 months will be a real test of NATO unity.”


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Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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