Definition of future in English:



  • 1usually the futureA period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come.

    ‘we plan on getting married in the near future’
    ‘work on the building will be shelved for the foreseeable future’
    • ‘Coaching sessions for would-be bowlers are planned in the near future.’
    • ‘We cannot rule out the possibility of a conspiracy to carry out more attacks in the future, whether near or distant.’
    • ‘Probably they will be committed to the game for a longer period in the future as well.’
    • ‘What do you view as the future of policy initiatives in this area in the foreseeable future?’
    • ‘Draw your own conclusions as to what the future holds once the Government legalises cannabis, which it will.’
    • ‘They are the carefree ones - the dare-devils who live for the moment and leave the future to look after itself.’
    • ‘Is there a way to avoid these results in the future while still following the example?’
    • ‘If this is one of those man-against-machine moments, the future of the human race is in pretty shoddy hands.’
    • ‘Expect more detailed news in the near future, followed by a lot of people suddenly spending a lot more time at home.’
    • ‘Pat plans to release a further single in the near future, followed by an album in early autumn.’
    • ‘At last this is a sentence appropriate to the crime and a strong precedent for other judges to follow in the future.’
    • ‘It was lauded as a triumph for democracy and a defining moment for the future of Africa.’
    • ‘These moments condition more moments in the future so that understanding and patience grow.’
    • ‘Towards the end of the book he looks at what the future holds based on programmes that have been funded and are about to start.’
    • ‘He also gave me some food for thought about my own writing in the future.’
    • ‘So it seems right now that we are in a moment when the future is still unborn and the past is not quite dead.’
    • ‘A meeting will be held in the near future to discuss a follow-up to the Special Olympics.’
    • ‘It is difficult to envision a plan for the future without visiting moments from the past.’
    • ‘No, awful as that picture is, it is just a snapshot of a moment in the near future.’
    • ‘This company really captured my imagination and this will be one I follow carefully in the future.’
    time to come, time ahead
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Events that will or are likely to happen in time to come.
      ‘nobody can predict the future’
      • ‘One trick involves a goldfish which can, seemingly, predict the future.’
      • ‘As we examine our past, we realise how much it is likely for the future to repeat itself upon us.’
      • ‘The resulting media firestorm killed off the idea of trying to use the market to predict the future.’
      • ‘Still, the wonderfully interesting thing about life is that we can never predict the future.’
      • ‘Psychic volunteers are taking part in an experiment to discover whether people really can predict the future.’
      • ‘These books, by predicting the future, have the ability to take you out of the present for a few moments.’
      • ‘Telecoms analysts, after all, have not recently shown a particularly sound ability to predict the future.’
      • ‘Nobody can predict the future - yet we know some farmers will see it as decision time.’
      • ‘I know that's asking you to predict the future, but give us a sense of how big a claim it could be.’
      • ‘The technician as such has the benefit of hindsight to predict the future.’
      • ‘Further similar experiences follow and Tom realises that he now has the ability to see ghosts and predict the future.’
      • ‘Now we have to be buying from the Americans who were smart enough to predict the future.’
      • ‘People who work with computers sometimes feel an irresistible urge to predict the future.’
      • ‘Whereas the flop of the N-Gage was easy to predict, the future of these two is harder to see.’
      • ‘If the investors were uncertain, it seemed that companies were equally unsure about predicting the future.’
      • ‘In fact, predicting the future of music is more difficult than ever.’
      • ‘As no one can predict the future, our advice is to have a bit of everything and spread the risk.’
      • ‘If you were trying to predict the future then, you could be pretty positive.’
      • ‘They analyse trends and predict the future before making commitments that might not bear fruit for many years.’
      • ‘I do rely on him because his technical expertise is superb and his ability to predict the future has been uncanny.’
    2. 1.2 The likely prospects for or fate of someone or something in time to come.
      ‘MPs will debate the future of the railways’
      • ‘It was a curious quirk of fate that put the future of the Tayside club in the hands of a shady Anglo-Italian entrepreneur.’
      • ‘She's very bold and not afraid of anything and I think she has a bright future ahead of her.’
      • ‘There may be challenges ahead but the future in this sector is certainly looking brighter than for several years.’
      • ‘And for the providers of this technology, the future is so bright, they've got to wear shades.’
      • ‘That, alone, raises the most terrifying prospects for the future of humankind.’
      • ‘No one wants to debate the future of Britain, because of another fine old tradition the bearer of bad tidings always got the chop.’
      • ‘While coming out on the wrong side of the score line today Swinford looks to have a very bright future ahead.’
      • ‘Tabby is a very talented entertainer and he has bright future ahead on stage.’
      • ‘In good health, with a bright future ahead, he has little to fear from the dawning of another decade.’
      • ‘A subsequent debate on the future of Blackfield Infant and Junior schools resulted in a similar decision.’
      • ‘A heated debate over the future of a Trowbridge soccer pitch was expected at a meeting last night.’
      • ‘Extensive public debate about the future of NHS services in Scotland is welcome, but it must be balanced.’
      • ‘Did you at least try to have a say in your fate and the future of your city, state, nation, and world?’
      • ‘Although he was disappointed afterwards he has a bright future ahead of him in football.’
      • ‘Of waking up to hear that your fate, the future of your family and your home, has been changed again by someone in a far off place.’
      • ‘Chile is a surprising source for this grape, but if this example is anything to go by, the future is bright.’
      • ‘It was the kind of shot that also convinces Westwood of the bright future that may lie ahead for the youngster.’
      • ‘This young man is an all round sportsman with a bright future ahead in boxing and hurling.’
      • ‘Both her and Saeed are sick, sad and filled with anxiety about their fate and the future for their child.’
      • ‘He still has a bright future ahead of him and is expected to put up a better performance next year.’
      destiny, fate, fortune, doom
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A prospect of success or happiness.
      ‘he'd decided that there was no future in the gang’
      ‘I began to believe I might have a future as an artist’
      • ‘Each of the several million Japanese who died in war had families and futures.’
      • ‘A cleaner energy future beckons - now is the time to deliver.’
    4. 1.4Grammar A tense expressing an action that has not yet happened.
  • 2futuresFinance
    Contracts for assets (especially commodities or shares) bought at agreed prices but delivered and paid for later.

    Compare with forward (sense 2 of the noun)
    • ‘The index futures for October delivery rose 0.6 percent to 5,889.’
    • ‘New crop canola futures also felt some backlash from the news, traders commented.’
    • ‘These banks can deal in futures and options so that they can manage price risks.’
    • ‘All of our familiar financial instruments - stocks, insurance, commodity futures, options - were once forbidden by anti-gambling laws.’
    • ‘Then as soon as the cash market closed, the S&P futures made a new low for the session.’
    • ‘Futures buyers must wait up to two years if the futures are bought soon after they are first offered.’
    • ‘With Heating Oil and Gasoline futures leading the way, Energy futures closed sharply higher as the Energy Information Agency reported a surprising drop in product stocks.’
    • ‘If your broking firm gives advice the adviser must be accredited to advise on ASX futures.’
    • ‘The FSA is also aware of scams promoting options, futures and currency dealings.’
    • ‘The major indexes slid to seven-week lows in the week to Friday with crude oil futures holding near record levels.’
    • ‘This involves buying and selling futures or options on shares, bonds or currencies.’


  • 1attributive At a later time; going or likely to happen or exist.

    ‘the needs of future generations’
    • ‘Hence he has only himself to blame for what we are facing today and what future generations may regret tomorrow.’
    • ‘The Family Court is oriented to the long term and must take into account the likely future needs of the child.’
    • ‘How harsh or lenient a peace did it set in place, and with what likely results for the future stability of the present order?’
    • ‘Which fields are likely to be of future investment interest to French business people in Bulgaria?’
    • ‘AP reports that the likely future role of this historical archive is toilet paper.’
    • ‘So what are the key issues likely to determine the future movement of markets?’
    • ‘It is hoped that the Millennium Garden will be a source of enjoyment for present and future generations.’
    • ‘However, he may be removed as guardian at a future date if the court is satisfied it is in the child's best interest.’
    • ‘It follows a study into the suitability of the buildings and the likely future demand for family services across the city.’
    • ‘The chief judge said that the verdict will be rendered at a future date.’
    • ‘Judgements of national interest require prudence, and some concern for the likely trend of future events.’
    • ‘Yields on bonds are so low that any future inflation is likely to erode the rates of return on government bonds bought today.’
    • ‘What future developments are likely concerning the legal framework for employment?’
    • ‘The future use is likely to be a small-scale residential development.’
    • ‘Unless these factors are addressed, the potential exists for future accidents.’
    • ‘In the absence of such forward thinking, the impact of a future super-eruption is likely to be appalling.’
    • ‘The success this time around meant it was likely future festivals would be bigger and include more cities.’
    • ‘The review would include a list of costs which will need to come from loans and likely future costs.’
    • ‘In 1997 we identified an imminent problem, likely to limit future estimations.’
    • ‘Now teachers hope to get enough cash to enable future generations of children to follow in their footsteps.’
    later, following, ensuing, succeeding, subsequent, upcoming, to come, coming
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) planned or destined to hold a specified position.
      ‘his future wife’
      • ‘Any decision will be made on educational grounds in the interest of current and future students in the area.’
      • ‘The course develops the skills of young people identified as future leaders.’
      • ‘Alan is now looking for contributions from other men who may have some interesting anecdotes and top tips for future fathers.’
      • ‘From a social point of view it is an ideal place to get to know people who may become friends or even a future partner.’
      • ‘In truth it is Davis himself who has been under suspicion for positioning himself as a future leader.’
      • ‘The agency, however, has been planned to have a movie producer as the future owner of Boyana Film.’
      • ‘Among these were the mandatory retirement of sovereigns at 80 and a public power of veto for any future king or queen.’
      • ‘My work is rewarding and I am able to save at least 20 per cent of my salary for my future family.’
      • ‘I've already resolved that any future daughter of mine will wear them, preferably with a pair of legwarmers too.’
      • ‘Back at his castle, Siegfried attends a ball where he is expected to choose his future bride.’
      • ‘The sexy socialite has revealed she and her future husband are looking forward to starting a family soon after their wedding.’
      • ‘It has been suggested that his Pitt biography is part of a grand publicity plan to jockey back into position as a future leader.’
      • ‘Few people realize that the future King Henry VIII was Duke of York at one point.’
      • ‘His future bride is better looking than any of the previous girlfriends you've managed to lock in your house for longer than a week.’
      • ‘This stance was bequeathed to future opponents of the government's plans, and it was extremely popular.’
      • ‘In July 1797, Scott went on a tour of the English Lake District where he met his future wife.’
      • ‘The warmth beside him was comforting; after all, to his left was his future wife.’
      • ‘Our failure to look at ourselves in the mirror is the tragedy future historians will be perplexed to read about.’
      • ‘I always have, I always will, and if my future children want to live under my roof, they will too.’
      • ‘And yet these are schools expected to mould and build the future leaders of this nation.’
      destined, intended, planned, to be, prospective, expected, anticipated
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Existing after death.
      ‘heaven and the future life with Christ’
    3. 1.3Grammar (of a tense) expressing an action that has not yet happened.
      • ‘If the question is framed in the future tense, then I understand what conversation we are having.’
      • ‘The verb ‘to die’ is one of the few that is only readily usable in the past and future tenses.’
      • ‘Expletive null subjects, for example, can occur freely in the past, present, and future tenses.’
      • ‘Then it belatedly dawned on me that the report was in the future tense and was written to explain what was due to happen that evening.’
      • ‘Traditionally, the simple future tense is will or shall followed by the infinitive: will follow.’


  • in future

    • From now onwards.

      ‘she would be more careful in future’
      • ‘Women will in future be directed to birthing units in Chippenham and Trowbridge.’
      • ‘Recommendations will be made to the school about the way they conduct SATS in future.’
      • ‘I shall however in future be careful to exclude all mention of the players involved.’
      • ‘I would like to fine him for the Diver Lifeboat Fund and to warn him to be more careful in future.’
      • ‘I hope in future the police only work to protect and serve us, that no one is above the law.’
      • ‘I need hardly add that this particular young wretch will be taking the train or walking in future.’
      • ‘They will face spot-checks in future to make sure the rules are being abided by.’
      • ‘Without these feelings I would be powerless to strive for change, to do better in future.’
      • ‘Maybe he won't be so quick to be a pawn in someone else's chess game in future.’
      • ‘One regular correspondent also took umbrage and promised not to write in the Press in future.’
      from now on, after this, in the future, from this day forth, from this day forward, from this day on, from this time on, hence, henceforward, subsequently, in time to come
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin futurus, future participle of esse ‘be’ (from the stem fu-, ultimately from a base meaning ‘grow, become’).