Being able to tell the future is something that’s extensively debated. Whether you believe in the possibility of it or not is unimportant in this article. For now, we simply want to run you through the 15 best words for people that can tell the future and how you can use them.
What Do You Call Someone Who Can Tell The Future?
Someone who can tell the future goes by many names. You may hear “fortune-teller,” “seer,” “prophet,” or something else. “Fortune-teller” is the most appropriate term for someone who can generally tell the future, while the other terms are much more specific.
The term “psychic” is closely related, though this often refers to a spiritual connection to the departed (like talking to ghosts rather than seeing the future).
In this article, we’ll look at these 15 terms, as well as learning more closely what each one means and refers to:
- Crystal Gazer
- Palm Reader
We’ll start with the most popular choice on the list. “Fortune-teller” is the most common word you’ll hear given to a person that can tell the future.
A fortune-teller is someone who can foretell events. That means they’ll be able to share with a client some events that will affect them in the future.
Generally, a fortune-teller is the name of a job that people who when they are paid to tell the future. “Fortune” is closely related to things that happen in the future, though it most closely relates to good things since “fortune” also means “luck.”
The next word we want to go through is “seer.”
“Seer” is the term used when talking about somebody who can predict future events as if they can see them. Generally, modern experts are referred to as “seers” because “fortune-teller” is slowly falling out of favor.
To pronounce “seer,” remember to think of it as the word “see” first. We say “see-er,” not “sear,” which is a common confusion, even for native speakers.
Next, we’ll talk about “prophets.” This is a great term to use, but it’s a little more specific in its application.
A prophet is someone who knows about future events based on some form of divine inspiration. This is an even more debatable thing in the modern world, but you might have read about prophets in religious texts before.
Generally, if a person is saying that they’re getting their knowledge and predictions from divine power, you can call them a “prophet” over any of the other terms on this list.
“Augur” is another more specific term that we can use to talk about someone who can see future events.
An “augur” is someone who uses omens to analyze and predict future events and patterns. It can also be used as a verb, like “this augurs well” (meaning “this bodes well” or “this will go well” in a sarcastic tone).
“Augur” stems from the Ancient Roman Empire. It was the term used to describe people who used omens to predict the future back then. It’s much less common now, but it still occurs in certain traditions and cultures.
This is one of the three names on this list that refers to a person in some historical context.
A “Cassandra” is a name for somebody who predicts the future. However, the predicted events are often unfortunate and are done in vain, much like the character Cassandra in Greek mythology, who was cursed to prophesize unfortunate happenings.
Again, this is a very specific term to call somebody. It’s much less common today, especially because of the deeper-rooted superstitions that surrounded the Ancient Greek traditions, which are no longer as prevalent today.
“Crystal gazer” is a fairly well-known term today. It’s also one of the more commonly used terms to emphasize fortune-tellers in film and television (since it gives them a physical medium to demonstrate their abilities).
A crystal gazer uses a crystal ball or other related objects to predict the future. It’s commonly practiced today and is known as a modern sense of prediction without sufficient information. It can result in truths coming out but also might backfire and be incorrect.
Since information is important most of the time when doing any form of future telling, crystal gazing can sometimes be seen as ineffective. However, it’s also generally more acceptable when the foretold events do come true since there wasn’t a lot of information to work with.
While not the most desirable form of a person who tells the future, a doomsayer is still an option to use.
A doomsayer is somebody who frequently predicts disastrous events. Usually, doomsayers are ignored, as they will often talk about the end of the world (which never happens when they tell you it will).
Of all the fortune-telling professions and terms, a doomsayer is definitely the most mocked of the bunch. Many people will simply pass a doomsayer on the street and consider them nothing more than a crazy person.
All of a doomsayer’s predictions are typically not found on any specific information or visions.
The next term is “futurist,” which might sound like a simple one, but there’s a little more to explain about it.
A futurist is somebody who gives an opinion about the future based on past or current events. They usually have a lot of information to work with compared to other fortune-telling terms.
A futurist will almost never tell you that they can predict the future. They will simply say that they’re offering you a serious discussion about the impact of your past and current situations that might lead to something in the future.
They understand that there isn’t a guarantee any of their predictions will come true.
Jeremiah is the second of the three names on this list which are also used as terms in this regard.
A “Jeremiah” is somebody who predicts disaster. It is from the Bible and refers to the pessimistic prophet with the same name. It’s similar to a doomsayer, though it’s much less common to use.
You might have heard of the term oracle before, as it’s one of the more popular choices to use in media.
An “oracle” is historically somebody who acts as a mouthpiece for a deity. It originates from Ancient Greek stories and allows us to explain who certain people were blessed with foresight and predicting the future. Now, it refers to anyone who can predict the future.
“Oracle” is an umbrella term for anyone with the ability to predict the future. It’s commonly used in film and television, but the original meaning of the deities speaking through the people seems to be lost.
A “palm reader” is another very popular choice for people to refer to because it gives an obviously readable medium for the fortune-teller to work with.
A palm reader can also be called a palmist. They predict the future based on the lines in a person’s palm. Everyone has different lines across their palms, and each line refers to a different future event for the person.
Many people believe in the power of palm readers and will allow them to read their palms to foretell what comes next for them. Typically, a palm reader will charge for their abilities.
A prophesier is somebody who reads prophecies and makes predictions based on them. Typically, these predictions are more poetic than a typical one, leaving a lot up for interpretation.
A prophecy is usually a message relating to events in the future. Generally, they are kept very loose and poetic to allow people to interpret them in any way they want. They’re an older profession than most, and not many prophesiers exist today.
However, most written prophesies are passed down through generations, and some families still believe in the ones that closely relate to themselves.
The next term is “prognosticator,” which is perhaps one of the least popular choices on this list. It’s also the rarest version of fortune-telling to come across based on how it works.
A prognosticator is somebody who predicts the future based on phenomena. That means they’ll pay close attention to miraculous things that happen and try to interpret exactly why those things came about and what it means for the future.
A prognosticator usually deals with groups of people rather than an individual.
The final named term on the list is known as Sibyl.
A “Sibyl” was a female prophet in Ancient Greek. Much like some of the other Ancient Greek names on this list, it is still used today, though not very common to see.
It’s another general term that refers to any woman who is capable of reading the future. No matter what type of fortune-telling they practice, they are known as Sibyl if they can read it.
Finally, we’ll look at “soothsayer.” These can almost be considered the opposites of “doomsayers.”
A soothsayer is somebody who predicts the future based purely on reason, intuition, and, in very rare circumstances, magic. While the magic portion of soothsayers seems to have fallen out of trend, reason, and intuition are still incredibly important to them.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.