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

  • n. A prediction of the probable course and outcome of a disease.
  • n. The likelihood of recovery from a disease.
  • n. A forecast or prediction: a gloomy prognosis for economic recovery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A forecast of the future course of a disease or disorder, based on medical knowledge.
  • n. A forecast of the future course, or outcome, of a situation; a prediction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or art of foretelling the course and termination of a disease; also, the outlook afforded by this act of judgment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A foreknowing of the course of events; forecast.
  • n. A forecast of the probable course and termination of a case of disease; also, what is thus forecast.

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

  • n. a prediction about how something (as the weather) will develop
  • n. a prediction of the course of a disease


Late Latin prognōsis, from Greek, from progignōskein, to foreknow : pro-, before; see pro-2 + gignōskein, gnō-, to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Via Latin prognōsis, from Ancient Greek πρόγνωσις (prognōsis, "foreknowledge, perceiving beforehand, prediction"), from prefix προ- (pro-, "before") + γνῶσις (gnōsis, "inquiry, investigation, knowing"), from γιγνώσκω (gignōskō, "know"). First attested in the mid 17th century. (Wiktionary)



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  • "The cases of 100 newly diagnosed patients were presented to cancer specialists who were asked to judge when 10 per cent would die, when 50 per cent would die and when 90 per cent would die. The specialists predicted extremely well the average actual survival - about 10 months. 'Then we looked at individuals … and we were bloody hopeless,' says Tattersall, who consequently came up with a new formula.
    Take the lifespan a doctor predicts - say, 12 months - then halve it and double it to arrive at a range of six to 24 months. It is fair to say, he says, that two-thirds of people will be dead within that range. But a third will not be, and Tattersall includes all this as a hopeful caveat when his patient's prognosis is otherwise dire."
    - Julie Robotham, Roll of the dice for the right numbers,, 15 Nov 2008.

    December 12, 2008