Printable Version
Pronunciation: pre-mê-nish-ên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Forewarning, foreseeing, presentiment; a strong feeling that something is about to happen.

Notes: Today's word had a host of derivational relatives: premonish is the verb that connects them all. Premonitor is someone or something that premonishes, and anything that premonishes in any way is premonitory. Premonitory has a synonym, which is premonitive.

In Play: We usually have premonitions of bad things to come: "As she agreed to go out with Phil Anders, June McBride had a premonition that she had made a terrible mistake." However, this is just prejudice; we may also premonish good things: "As Sam strode onto the first hole, he had an uplifting premonition that this would be his lucky day."

Word History: This Good Word was taken immediately from Middle French premonicion, inherited from Late Latin praemonitio(n-) "a forewarning". This was the action noun of Latin praemonere "to forewarn", composed of prae- "before" + monere "to warn, advise". Latin inherited this term from Proto-Indo-European moneyo-, the causative form men-/mon- "to think". Latin prae- (or pre-) was passed down from PIE pre "before", and came to English as fore-, for, and per. With the suffix -t, Latin converted men-/mon- "to think" into men(t)s "mind", the adjective of which, mentalis, English just clipped the case ending in borrowing it. The same PIE word came to English through its Germanic ancestry, arriving as mind.

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!