Definition of prophet in English:



  • 1A person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God:

    ‘the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah’
    • ‘Each is supported by an Old Testament prophet: John by Isaiah, Mark by Daniel, Matthew by Jeremiah, and Luke by Nehemiah.’
    • ‘They all believe in God and His angels, His scriptures, and His Prophets.’
    • ‘Modern scholars who deal with Israel's ancient political religion and the prophets who proclaimed its transformation are burdened with a scholarly spurious familiarity.’
    • ‘Moses received Torah from Sinai and handed it down to Joshua; and Joshua to the Elders; and the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets handed it down to the members of the Great Assembly.’
    • ‘Buddha and Jesus, Krishna and Mahavir, Guru Nanak and prophets of other religions teach one thing only: Selflessness!’
    • ‘The doctrine of Moses and the Prophets, identical at bottom with that of the ancient Egyptians, also had its outward meaning and its veils.’
    • ‘Also, sackcloth was, and will be (in some contemporary form), in the case of the two witnesses, worn by some Prophets.’
    • ‘Since then, Almighty God sent several prophets and revelations, the last in this chain being Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an.’
    • ‘Like many other Old Testament witnesses and prophets, Jacob is shown struggling with God and not giving up.’
    • ‘They feel that it is in reality the faith taught by the ancient Prophets, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them).’
    • ‘The implication is that the Almighty sent Prophets towards the Israelites in succession to remind them of the covenant mentioned before.’
    • ‘All this had been foreseen in the Psalmists and Prophets who were given revelations by God of how redemption would be accomplished.’
    • ‘They were filled with a kind of righteous indignation that characterized Old Testament prophets like Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah!’
    • ‘If anyone would deny Socrates a place among the prophets, he ‘must be asked who the Father of Prophets is and whether our God has not called Himself and shown Himself to be a God of the Gentiles.’’
    • ‘What is new is the use of such approaches not only by a few Prophets or Kabbalistic adepts, but by much larger circles of the Jewish people.’
    • ‘He is blood-kin to the Psalmists and the Prophets of the Old Testament.’
    • ‘What respect is there for the words of the Prophets, the Talmudic Sages or the rabbinic giants of today?’
    • ‘His writing has more the intensity of an Old Testament prophet pointing out the pretensions of worldly kings.’
    • ‘Allah sent the Prophets and the books; He sent the warners and glad tiders; and He sent the reminders.’
    • ‘The Talmud lists 7 female prophets: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Avigail, Chuldah, and Esther.’
    seer, soothsayer, forecaster of the future, fortune teller, clairvoyant, prognosticator, prophesier, diviner
    prophetess, oracle, augur, sibyl
    spaewife, spaeman
    haruspex, vaticinator, oracler
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (among Muslims) Muhammad.
    2. 1.2 (among Mormons) Joseph Smith or one of his successors.
    3. 1.3 A person who advocates or speaks in a visionary way about a new cause or theory:
      ‘he is repeatedly hailed as a prophet of modernism’
      • ‘With his vision of an interconnected world, he was one of the earliest prophets of communications technology and globalisation as a way of reducing the marginalisation of much of the poor world.’
      • ‘Those modern-day prophets, the health and nutrition experts, reckon that getting five portions of fruit and vegetables under your belt should be as easy as pie.’
      • ‘Franklin was the homespun wit, Jefferson the far-reaching pen, Adams the sober prophet behind the revolutionary moment.’
      • ‘In many ways his importance is overstated, especially in the field of theory, and his place in the development of an independent air force is best viewed as a prophet or advocate rather than as a system builder.’
      • ‘But when they talk about being bullied by them or any lesser lights speaking in the name of the prophets of spin, the only blame attaches to themselves for allowing even a particle of surrender.’
    4. 1.4 A person who predicts what will happen in the future:
      ‘the prime minister ignored the prophets of doom’
      • ‘These historians have set themselves up as prophets blessed with a vision denied to ordinary Australians.’
      • ‘There are still those who refuse to believe the prophets of doom.’
      • ‘Then, just as it seemed the prophets were predicting a dire season for Melrose, the Greenyards men produced arguably the best try of the game.’
      • ‘For him, artists at their best are like Romantic heroes engaged with insurmountable crises or like prophets of a gauzy future.’
      • ‘He has annexed citizens' goodwill, not in fiscal speak but in a prophet's rhetoric, or even a poet's.’
      • ‘It means accepting and hoping that the doors of the future should be wide open to the present beyond all the failures, declines, and catastrophes predicted by strange prophets.’
      • ‘World crude oil prices have not risen with ‘free market’ supply and demand, confounding all the prophets of doom or boom.’
      • ‘It does not need a prophet to predict that history presented that way will encourage many readers to dig deeper.’
      • ‘This novel proves that he is not only a literary Goliath, but also a modern-day prophet who has his fingers on the pulse of the contemporary world, able to predict its vital beats.’
      • ‘Throughout human history there had always been self-proclaimed prophets who have predicted the end of the world.’
      • ‘Worse yet, we play prophets, trying to predict what might or might not be going on in the minds of complex men and what might happen as a result.’
      • ‘But her detractors are wrong in demanding that she have both an artist's vision and a prophet's precognition.’
      • ‘You don't have to be a prophet to predict what happens next.’
      • ‘It is the prophet's and visionary's belief that poetry expresses truth, even at the expense of beauty.’
      • ‘It just goes to show that the prophets of doom never sleep.’
      • ‘Which of our revered and vastly over-paid technology prophets predicted that people would be able to earn money sending text messages from their mobile phones?’
      • ‘At key moments in her writing, it is clear that she recognized herself as a visionary and a prophet of the first order.’
      • ‘On that Great Day of which prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on that day when the world is completely cleansed of evil, then I, too, will go down into darkness, swallowing curses.’
      • ‘This is what the prophets of doom have been waiting for.’
      • ‘At times, prophets were called to predict the future.’
  • 2(in Christian use) the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets.

    • ‘Jesus' death and resurrection are grounded in Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, as part of God's plan of salvation.’
    • ‘Jesus meets with two other biblical figures, Moses and Elijah, both of whom experienced revelations on Sinai and who personify the Law and the Prophets, which are now brought to their fullness in Jesus.’
    • ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’
    • ‘Mike was so excited by the opportunity to witness to a son of Israel that he was unaware of how loudly he was speaking - until he noticed that other passengers were listening to him expound Moses and the Prophets.’
    • ‘Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms all climax in Christ.’
    1. 2.1 (in Jewish use) one of the three canonical divisions of the Hebrew Bible, distinguished from the Law and the Hagiographa, and comprising the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor prophets.
      • ‘The tripartite division of Jewish tradition into Law, Prophets, and Writings does not favor a midpoint, or at least has not led to a discussion of center, despite the importance of the Torah.’
      • ‘It is these differences which distinguish Torah from the Prophets.’
      • ‘The Scriptures are to be read in light of Torah because Torah, judged canon-historically, forms the ‘center,’ while the Prophets and the Writings are interpretations of this center.’
      • ‘That includes the books of the Prophets and Writings as well.’
      • ‘Surrounding these two key prayers are clusters from the classics of Jewish literature: the Torah, the Prophets, the Psalms, and the Talmud.’


  • a prophet is not without honour save in his own country

    • proverb A person's gifts and talents are rarely appreciated by those close to them.


Middle English: from Old French prophete, via Latin from Greek prophētēs spokesman, from pro before + phētēs speaker (from phēnai speak).