SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Prediction or prophecy?


Welcome to another installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these new words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words?

It’s because a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys engorged with remuneration are eligible for this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, for those of us who want nothing more than to grasp City Hall’s timidity in assisting pedestrians to cross the street, all we have is dead time — and the opportunity to learn something.

The bold red words in the preceding paragraph were written last Wednesday, two days before an 83-year-old woman crossing the street was struck by a woman driving a truck, and died the next day of her injuries.

“New Albany has a long way to go on street safety,” says Broken Sidewalk in an understatement for the ages.

R.I.P. Chloe Allen.

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We are the Killers.

In fact, I’ve written words similar to these on numerous occasions. For many of us, it’s been only a matter of time until something like this occurred — not because accidents happen (of course they do) but because the overall design of the municipal street grid favors automotive traffic to such a vast and pervasive extent that the objectives of drivers are prioritized to the daily detriment of those choosing to walk or ride a bicycle.

Because the playing field is far from level, and City Hall refuses to grasp the stakes, it wasn’t hard to predict this sad outcome. However, it was not prophesied.

As nouns the difference between prediction and prophecy is that prediction is a statement of what will happen in the future while prophecy is a prediction, especially one made by a prophet or under divine inspiration.

A prediction is a calculation based on facts, parameters and available evidence. Meteorologists examine data, consider variables, and predict the weather. Sportscasters do the same before the ballgame.

English Noun

A statement of what will happen in the future. “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” (in translation from Danish)

Synonyms: (statement about the future) forecast, prognosis, prognostication

The many times we’ve pointed to conditions in real life, in the city, from the perspective of those who walk and bike, combined to form a prediction. Based on these observations, we predicted problems. Problems were predicted and came to pass, but they did not come about owing to prophecy.


English noun

A prediction, especially one made by a prophet or under divine inspiration.

French writer Nostradamus made a prophecy in his book.

Derived terms
* self-fulfilling prophecy * self-defeating prophecy

Related terms
* prophesy * prophet * prophetic

There is crossover between a prediction and a prophecy, but to me, a prophet as one deriving his or her predictions from divine or supernatural sources. A prophet’s predictions have a patina. One might say that a prophecy is a theatrical prediction with ulterior motives, often vaguely phrased to ensure shoehorning to suit future times, themselves impossible to predict.

Or something like that. Consequently, prophecies emanating from voices in the celestial realm aren’t needed for me to make this prediction:

I predict that in the aftermath of Mrs. Allen’s death, City Hall will say and do absolutely nothing.