One who claims to be able to foretell events or predict the future; a seer.
Word History: The truth is not always soothing, but our verb soothe is related to soothsayer, the word for one who tells the truth, especially beforehand. The archaic adjective and noun sooth, "true, truth," comes from the Old English adjective and noun sōth with the same meanings. The Old English form derives from Germanic *santh-az, "true," which comes from Indo-European *sont-, one of the participles from the Indo-European root -es-, "to be": the truth is that which is. Old English also formed a verb from sōth, namely sōthian, "to confirm to be true." This is the ancestor of soothe; its meaning changed from "to concur to be true, say 'yes' to" to "humor by concurring, placate." Doing the latter on occasion requires something less than the truth.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.