Can you suggest a phrase for the following: You determine in advance that something is going to turn out bad; setting yourself up for it; cynical.

Not a premonition, but begins with "pre" and I think it is of two words.

  • Welcome to EL&U. How would you use the phrase in a sentence? Please edit your question to add a sample sentence that has a blank ( ___ ) in the place where the word or phrase would occur. – Lawrence Jan 21 '16 at 16:11
  • "Prepare for the worst." – Kris Jan 21 '16 at 16:17
  • Prediction and predestiny are both relevant, but neither carry any implication of setting oneself up for a bad experience. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 '16 at 16:21
  • precipice? A predilection for precipitous peril. – Hugh Jan 21 '16 at 18:49
  • Well... you're either a pessimist or a realist. Depends on which side of the fence you're sitting... ;) – Tim Ward Jan 21 '16 at 19:07

How about presage?


(noun) A feeling or intuition of what is going to occur. (The Free Dictionary)

(verb) To give an indication of something in advance. (The Free Dictionary)

(verb) Be a sign or warning of (an imminent event, typically an unwelcome one) (Oxford Dictionary)

or portend:

(verb) To give an indication of something in advance.


(noun) An indication of something important or calamitous about to occur.



  • (noun) fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen: with a sense of foreboding she read the note.

  • (adjective) implying or seeming to imply that something bad is going to happen: when the doctor spoke, his voice was dark and foreboding.

(Source: Dictionary app on my Mac)


As the election approached, his sense of foreboding as to the near-certain outcome led him to become increasingly despondent, then cynical.


From Merriam-Webster...

self–fulfilling - becoming real or true because it was predicted or expected

...which is often used in the collocation a self–fulfilling prophecy.

  • The OP says it begins with pre and adds it is two words. – user140086 Jan 21 '16 at 16:10
  • 2
    @Rathony: Perhaps OP's memory has let him down. Or perhaps he'll benefit from coming to realize that even though this isn't the specific term he was trying to recall, it suits his context better. Maybe other people in future might be looking for a term suitable for the context as described, and be glad they came across this page. Who knows? Who cares? It's not a guessing game. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 '16 at 16:15
  • @Rathony: The edit looks fine to me (particularly, because the title is now meaningful). Don't forget that some people might have strictly time-limited online access; you can't expect every OP to hang around watching and waiting for an answer on the same day they post a question. And even if this OP never comes back that shouldn't be a show-stopper. Questions where the answer is only relevant to the actual OP are pretty much inherently off topic anyway. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 '16 at 17:19
  • @Rathony: I don't think tags are particularly useful on ELL (or ELU), so I don't take much notice of them (I just looked, and it's not obvious to me a typical question tagged phrase is any different to one tagged phrase-request). But to my mind, setting yourself up for it clearly implies causing an undesirable future to come to pass purely because of what you say/do/think, so I don't see the question as Unclear anyway. – FumbleFingers Jan 21 '16 at 17:32

I'd suggest, presentiment

presentiment: noun a feeling or impression that something is about to happen, especially something evil; foreboding. Random House

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