What is the best word to describe a person who always anticipates or thinks of future or possible things (occurrences) according to previous events; i.e., who extrapolates to the consequences of current information, when those consequences are not obvious to others.

Examples in home and work contexts:

  • When he saw an excavation happening near his home, he anticipated that maybe the water line would be out and prepared for it.

  • When he saw a news item about an event that happened, he realized his boss is in tune with these events and he anticipated how this would affect his boss's decisions and planning.

  • Your question is too broad. What is the context (e.g. financial, weather)? By always, do you mean that it's their job or their personality? Please edit your question to clarify what you're after. The single-word-requests tag information may be helpful for this.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 23, 2016 at 2:56
  • 1
    What did a thesaurus suggest for 'anticipate'? And why were those not sufficient for your purposes?
    – Mitch
    Jul 23, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    Do you want a verb like "anticipate," or an adjective like "precognizant," or a noun like "prophet"?
    – herisson
    Jul 27, 2016 at 3:05

8 Answers 8


The Cambridge English Dictionary defines far-sighted as

having good judgment about what will be needed in the future and making wise decisions based on this:
Buying those shares was a very far-sighted move – they must be worth ten times their original value now.

They label this a “UK” definition, but I disagree.  I’m a US person, and I believe that this meaning would be well understood here.  Note that these definitions of  farsighted  (incidentally, not hyphenated):


    able to predict what will or might happen in the future


    wise, as in foreseeing future developments:  a farsighted statesman.

carry no geographic restriction.

Forward-looking has a similar meaning:


    concerned with the future or planning for the future


    planning for or anticipating possible future events, conditions, etc.;  progressive.

Words such as wise, sensible, sage, sagacious, and perspicacious are listed as synonyms for the above:


  Cambridge English Dictionary:

      quick in noticing, understanding, or judging things accurately:
      His perspicacious grandfather had bought the land as an investment, guessing that there might be gold underground.


      having or showing an ability to notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious

Other suggested synonyms include intuitive, prophetic, and psychic, but I guess these are not what you want (with the possible exception of intuitive).

A more literal definition of farsighted, which is frequently listed as the primary definition (especially when it is not hyphenated), is:

Cambridge English Dictionary:

  • long-sighted
  • able to see things clearly that are far away but not things that are near you:
    I’m so far-sighted, I can’t read the newspaper without my glasses.


  • seeing objects at a distance more clearly than those near at hand; hyperopic.
  • seeing to a great distance.

The antonym of this sense of farsighted is nearsighted:


    unable to see things that are far away : able to see things that are close more clearly than things that are far away

while the antonym of the first sense is shortsighted:


    not considering what will or might happen in the future; lacking foresight

although some people use these terms interchangeably.   (Both of these words (especially shortsighted) can be hyphenated.)

  • I disagree. Farsighted, in m opinion, is when someone has difficulty seeing things close to their eyes.. Foresight is the right word.
    – dockeryZ
    Jul 24, 2016 at 21:21
  • @dockeryZ:  I see your opinion and raise you three dictionary definitions. What else do you have up your sleeve?  … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …  If you want to submit foresighted (and/or foresightful) as an answer, go ahead.  (Note that “lacking foresight” is included in the definition of shortsighted that I quoted.) Jul 24, 2016 at 22:00

Such a person would be called a prognosticator.


one who predicts future events or developments

  • Yeah I like this answer better than mine. Jul 23, 2016 at 3:39
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    Would you be able to provide a reference?
    – Bookeater
    Jul 23, 2016 at 6:23

You can describe such a person as prescient:

prescient, adj.: knowing or behaving as if you know what will happen in the future

Such as "Arthur C. Clarke is an author who wrote eerily prescient works of fiction."

  • I like it. Thanks! took 4 years to have this kind of answer. but yeah thanks a lot!
    – Binsoi
    Feb 11, 2021 at 19:49

The person in question is likely a visionary.

From dictionary.cambridge.org:

visionary noun [ C ] (ABLE TO IMAGINE THE FUTURE)

a person who has the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. will develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way

From oxforddictionaries.com:

NOUN (plural visionaries)

A person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like:

he is a visionary keen on policy-making

The website boasts that ‘Freeness is the now, and tomorrow for future music visionaries.’

She's written a book about space tourism, and talked to many of the visionaries behind the whole idea.

We need more such hands-on visionaries for the future of York if we are to create and maintain a competitive position on the world stage.

From M-W:

visionary noun

: a person who has clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future

: a person who has a powerful imagination

3 : one having unusual foresight and imagination : a visionary in the computer industry

She's a visionary in her field.

Definition of visionary for Students : a person who has an exceptional ability to plan or have ideas for the future

From dictionary.com:

noun, plural visionaries.

  1. a person of unusually keen foresight.
  • 1
    My gut tells me that “visionary” is a grander term than what the OP wants. The question asks for a word for someone who is perceptive, intelligent, and capable of extrapolating from past and present events to anticipate future ones. I think of a visionary as someone who has great imagination; a person who can conceive of many possible futures and act in a way that influences the course of the future. However, your very extensive collection of references supports the suitability of your answer, so +1 … good job! Aug 8, 2016 at 6:42

Shrewd Pragmatic if we are talking about plans and effects on physical things Considerate if we are talking about anticipating other people's feelings and emotions and influencing them for the better with kindness Canny implies knowledge of cause and effect Astute implies observant Sensible Judicious Practical connotes knowledge of effects on physical things Politic like shrewd connotes knowledge of effects on the hearts and minds of others, and to a lesser extent the physical world

Some pejorative words below: Calculating Manipulative Cunning crafty Scheming Artful


A prognosticator is the word you are looking for I believe.

To predict according to present indications or signs; foretell.


  • (1) “prognosticator” is a good answer, IMO. Unfortunately, it was already given four days earlier. (2) You should probably clarify the fact that, while you’re talking about “prognosticator” and you’ve linked to a definition for “prognosticator”, you’re actually quoting (citing) a definition for “prognosticate”. Aug 8, 2016 at 6:30
  • Well spotted @scott I hadn't realised this was given earlier, will remove my answer this evening once you've had a chance to read this comment ! I better go uv the original now:)
    – Gary
    Aug 8, 2016 at 13:59

How about an Harbinger, which is one who shows what is coming or will come.

Also, a strategist, which is a person who is always planning things and the things that will result of other things. For that one I would say "a strategist of sorts".

Not to mention an "harbinger of sorts".

  • 3
    Adding a dictionary definition of "harbinger" would show that a harbinger heralds an event, which is quite different to the OP's description of someone who anticipates the consequences of an event people are already aware of. Jul 23, 2016 at 8:54

Clairvoyant might be the word you're looking for.

noun 1. a person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact.

adjective 1. having or exhibiting an ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact. "he didn't tell me about it and I'm not clairvoyant"

  • 1
    It might be. Please explain your answer in full. Aug 7, 2016 at 11:17

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