Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To indicate or give warning of beforehand; presage.
  • n. An advance sign; a warning.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A prognostic; a premonitory sign; warning or presentment.
  • v. To betoken beforehand; prognosticate; foreshadow; give warning; presage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Prognostic; previous omen.
  • transitive v. To foreshow; to presignify; to prognosticate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A prognostic; a premonitory sign.
  • To be-token beforehand; prognosticate; foreshadow.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

Etymologies

From Middle English, from Old English foretācn ("foretoken, presage, prognostic, prodigy, sign, wonder"), equivalent to fore- +‎ token. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English *foretoknen, from Old English foretācnian ("to foreshow"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Yet in that short, hopeful moment, she had felt him so near to her that it was as if his spirit had floated over the sea unto her, -- what is called a foretoken (_pressigne_) in Breton land; and she listened still more attentively to the steps outside, trusting that some one might come to her to speak of him.

    Great Sea Stories

  • Yet in that short, hopeful moment she had felt him so near to her, that it was as if his spirit had floated over the sea unto her, what is called a foretoken (_pressigne_) in Breton land; and she listened still more attentively to the steps outside, trusting that some one might come to her to speak of him.

    An Iceland Fisherman

  • The first foretoken evidence of BPH is the frequency of requisite to urinate.

    Links and Credits

  • They say that eclipses foretoken misfortune, because misfortunes are common, so that, as evil happens so often, they often foretell it; whereas if they said that they predict good fortune, they would often be wrong.

    Pens��es

  • In one of his Advent sermons he said, "The heathen write that the comet may arise from natural causes, but God creates not one that does not foretoken a sure calamity."

    A History of the warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

  • On the opposite side of the house, several hundred yards away, the country turnpike ran; and from this there now reached them the rumbling of many vehicles, hurrying in close procession out of the nearest town and moving toward smaller villages scattered over the country; to its hamlets and cross-roads and hundreds of homes richer or poorer -- every vehicle Christmas-laden: sign and foretoken of the

    Bride of the Mistletoe

  • Or contrast with Addison's Italian letters passages like these, which foretoken Rogers and Byron.

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

  • Thomson's denunciation of the slave trade, and of cruelty to animals, especially the caging of birds and the coursing of hares; his preference of country to town; his rhapsodies on domestic love and the innocence of the Golden Age; his contrast between the misery of the poor and the heartless luxury of the rich; all these features of the poem foretoken the sentimentalism of Sterne and Goldsmith, and the humanitarianism of

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

  • Vienna lectures of 1810 foretoken Ruskin's philippics against railways and factories.

    A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century

  • They are written in a sprightly style, are full of bright fancies as well as sound feeling and excellent sense, and foretoken plainly the author of the

    The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss

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