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From Middle French precognition or its source, Latin praecognitio(n-), from praecognōscere (to know beforehand). Equivalent to Germanic cognate foreknowledge and Grecian cognate prognosis.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌpɹiːkɒɡˈnɪʃn̩/
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precognition (countable and uncountable, plural precognitions)

  1. (parapsychology) Knowledge of the future; understanding of something in advance, especially as a form of supernatural or extrasensory perception. [from 15th c.]
  2. (Scotland, law) The practice of taking a factual statement from a witness before a trial. [from 17th c.]
    • 1824, James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner:
      ‘But it seems there are some strong presumptuous proofs against you, and I came to warn you this day that a precognition is in progress, and that unless you are perfectly convinced, not only of your innocence, but of your ability to prove it, it will be the safest course for you to abscond, and let the trial go on without you.’


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