'Prophesy' vs 'Prophecy': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on August 15, 2023

If you need to know the difference between 'prophesy' and 'prophecy,' I can help.

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Prophesy' is a verb that means to utter a message received through divine inspiration. 
  • 'Prophecy' is a noun that means an utterance received through divine inspiration.  

While the short answer above gives you an overview of these terms, there is much more to learn. So, keep reading to gain a deeper understanding.

What is the Difference Between 'Prophesy' and 'Prophecy?'

'Prophesy' and 'prophecy' have different parts of speech, spellings, and pronunciations. However, their definitions are very similar.

  • The term spelled with an is a verb that means to give a divinely inspired prediction.
  • The latter, which you spell with a c, is a noun that means a divinely inspired utterance or prediction.

So, the differences between these terms are the spellings, pronunciations, and the ways you use the words.

Definition of 'Prophesy': What Does 'Prophesy' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the verb 'prophesy' is:

  • To utter a message received through divine inspiration

It can also mean:

  • To predict something with assurance through or on the basis of mystic knowledge
  • Prefigure
  • To speak through divine inspiration
  • To give instructions or guidance on religious matters
  • To make a prediction

Synonyms of 'Prophesy'

  • Predict
  • Foretell
  • Forecast
  • Warn
  • Foresee
  • Forewarn
  • Caution
  • Forebode
  • Foreknow
  • Announce
  • Tell
  • Alert
  • Declare

Definition of 'Prophecy': What Does 'Prophecy' Mean?

The same source defines the noun 'prophecy' as:

  • This a profound statement from a prophet

It can also mean:

  • The vocation or function of a prophet
  • A prediction of something that will happen in the future

Synonyms of 'Prophecy'

  • Forecasting
  • Prediction
  • Forecast
  • Sign
  • Presaging
  • Omen
  • Sooth
  • Guess
  • Conjecture
  • Portent
  • Surmise
  • Prevision
  • Foresight

Origin of 'Prophesy' vs. 'Prophecy'

The term 'prophesy' is a newer derivative of the term 'prophecy.' First uses of the latter term appeared in the 13th century, while the former first appeared in the 14th century.

'Prophecy' is a Middle English word derived from the Anglo-French term prophesied, which came from the Greek word propheteia, which means the gift of interpreting God's will.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Prophesy' vs. 'Prophecy'

Now, let's look at the pronunciation of 'prophesy' vs. 'prophecy.' Learning how to pronounce these terms is essential because it will help to give you the confidence to use them when speaking and writing.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'prophesy':

prä-fa-sī or prä-fa-seye

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'prophecy':

prä-fa-sē or prä-fa-see

When and How to Use 'Prophesy' vs. 'Prophecy'

You learned the difference between the definition, part of speech, and pronunciation of these two terms. But knowing when and how to use them may still be challenging.

So, here are some tips: 

  • Use 'prophesy' to say that someone is making a prophecy.

For example, you could say:

It is strange to see someone prophesy something before it happens and then see their prediction come true. 

  • Use 'prophecy' to reference an actual prediction.

As an example, you could say:

Your prophecy about Clark was true; I can't believe you knew about his demise before it occurred. 

  • Use 'prophesy' as a verb or action word.

So, you might say:

What do you prophesy about the next ten years? Will we have another significant disaster? 

  • Use 'prophecy' as a noun or thing.

As an example, you could say:

What is your prophecy about the next ten years? Will we have another significant disaster? 

Sample Sentences Using 'Prophesy' vs. 'Prophecy'

Next, read these sample sentences using 'prophesy' vs. 'prophecy.' Seeing these words used in different contexts will help you remember the difference and ways to use them.


  • Watching him prophesy about the future is incredible. It is like something divine is speaking through him.
  • What did the prophet prophesy about the changes to canon law?
  • She prophesied that something would happen to the bridge at the end of the street, and that night, the bridge washed away.
  • How do you prophesy? Is there some ceremony or process you follow, or do the insights come to you unexpectedly?
  • Only time will tell if the information you prophesy will come true.


  • Many ancient prophecies have come true, but just as many haven't.
  • If you have a prophecy about something that will happen, you should not be afraid to tell people.
  • She made a prophecy about the bridge at the end of the street, and during the night, the bridge washed away.
  • The antique book containing the ancient prophecy is ornate and beautiful.
  • The Bible and other religious texts contain numerous prophecies.


  • When you prophesy, do you write down your prophecies?
  • The next time you prophesy, please share your prophecy with me.
  • He said he could prophesy, but his prophecy was inaccurate.
  • The prophecy he gave about the future of the economy was true. When did he prophesy it?
  • Wait a few minutes. When he begins to prophesy, you will hear him speak his prophecy aloud.

Recap of the Difference Between 'Prophesy' vs. 'Prophecy'

We covered a lot of information in this post. So, let's do a quick recap of the difference between 'prophesy' vs. 'prophecy':

  • 'Prophesy' is a verb or action word to predict the future through divine inspiration.
  • 'Prophecy' is a noun that describes a divinely inspired prediction.

Unlike homophones which sound the same but have different spellings, these terms have similar meanings but different spellings and pronunciations. The critical thing to remember is that 'prophesy' describes someone making a prediction, while 'prophecy' describes the actual forecast.

Even with a comprehensive understanding of these terms, they can be easy to mix up. So, if you question which you should use in the future, you can always return to this post for a quick review.

You can also use the other guides on our site to verify the meanings of other confusing words. Each guide contains a brief and detailed explanation, definitions, pronunciations, and usage tips. So, they are also an excellent way to learn new words and how to use them correctly.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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