16

You know, the friend that everyone in the room will shut his mouth before he finishes his sentence knowing that it will very likely to become true.

Tom: I don't think this nice weather will last very long.
Everyone: Shut up, it will rain now if you say that.

  • What about a wise person? – mattyx17 Aug 17 at 16:52
36

If the person is specifically predicting doom and disaster (as opposed to just general predictions), they are A Cassandra (From mythology):

https://grammarist.com/usage/cassandra/

The original mythology held that as well as being given the gift of foresight, Cassandra was also cursed so that no-one would believe her. Although today's usage is more generalised in that the speaker can merely be unpopular for their predictions, whether or not they are believed.

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    A key part of being a Cassandra is that no-one believes their prophecies. I'd argue that merely being correct isn't enough; they must also be ignored. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 10 at 7:51
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    @SteveMelnikoff - This is a valid point, although not universally true that they must be ignored to fit the definition. See the linked source, Still, thanks for mentioning it; I will update the answer. – Chris Melville Aug 10 at 8:59
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    Quite simply, nobody would use "a Cassandra" for what the OP is asking: someone who specifically "is always correct" in predicting doom and gloom. – Fattie Aug 12 at 10:53
20

A person who foretells or prophesies future events is called prognosticator.

Merriam Webster defines it as:

One who predicts future events or developments.

I believe soothsayer would also work well in this context.

Also consider harbinger.

Harbinger: a person or thing that shows that something is going to happen soon, especially something bad.

Or harbinger of doom.

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    "prognosticator" is a good word. – Eddie Kal Aug 9 at 16:28
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    Harbringer is probably as close to a single word as we're likely to get. "Doom-sayer" conveys "it's always bad" but can certainly be wrong. – Mary Aug 9 at 18:23
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    "prognosticator" is neutral in affect. – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- Aug 9 at 23:15
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    @ Mary - You made a minor typo, "harbinger" not "harbringer" ;-) – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 at 13:08
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    prognosticator is only about predicting, not whether it comes true. It's often used for people who think they can predict, but are terrible at it. A harbinger is more organic, often a cause or effect, about one particular thing. Lots of geese flying might be the harbinger of rain -- Tom is merely alerting us. He's not the harbinger. If he got headaches before rain, that would be the harbinger. Soothsayer suggests magic, and can be good or bad predictions. – Owen Reynolds Aug 10 at 21:58
11

Someone who regularly predicts unfortunate events (rightly or wrongly) is a doomsayer. (because they are literally saying predictions of doom)

If you are implying that something will go wrong because he predicted it, then he is a jinx

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  • Actually Jinx is about the closest thing, althbough it's the opposute sense. (The person "causes" it more than "predicts" it.) – Fattie Aug 12 at 10:57
7

If the act of prophesy itself is supposed to cause the prophesy to come true, a common reaction would be "don't jinx it!". Which is not a term for the troublemaker themselves, I'll admit, but seems to be matching the described scenario well.

However, the same phrase would be used for prematurely declaring success rather than failure and in that manner causing failure to magically take its course.

A very unspecific phrase fitting the prediction of failure better than that of success would be "now you've said it!".

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    IMO it's only a jynx when something good is happening and you comment on how things are going well. "The weather has been nice for two weeks" could jynx it, but saying "this nice weather won't last" isn't a jynx. – Kat Aug 10 at 17:01
  • @Kat, interestingly, although I think the word is almost universally spelt jinx, it does apparently come from the bird jynx. – LSpice Aug 11 at 22:24
  • @LSpice It does seem jinx is the more common spelling, but jynx is also technically correct. I checked before posting my last comment because I noticed we spelled it differently. – Kat Aug 12 at 2:44
5

In the Discworld series, written by Terry Pratchett, there's a group of magic users called witches who are down-to-earth, sensible people who do all the dirty work needed to keep life going, and they take care of the people and issues that fall between the cracks. Anywho, a number of them can see the future, and will tell people their futures for money. However, most of the time people don't like what's actually in their future, and witches are either too blunt or not nice enough to sugar-coat what they see. Pratchett refers to such future-seeing witches as misfortune tellers.

Edit: as far as I know, this term is not used outside of Pratchett's writings. However, also as far as I know, there is no word in the English language to describe someone who reliably predicts minor misfortunes. Doomsayer or harbinger both kind of fit, in my opinion, but they suggest predictions of apocalyptic scale.

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    Is there any support for this use outside of a pun by an author of comedic fantasy novels? – nick012000 Aug 11 at 6:15
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    Not that I know of, but the term fits, and is useful regardless of the term's origin. One could use it and almost anyone would know exactly what you mean. – Kronimiciad Aug 11 at 14:35
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    Misfortune teller is wonderful. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Aug 11 at 15:11
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica Terry Pratchett was an extremely funny writer. – Oscar Bravo Aug 11 at 15:53
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    Off topic but feel I must point out that while the Discworld novels started as straight comedy/fantasy they soon began to gather depth. – Binary Worrier Aug 12 at 9:50

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