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1. A glass or crystal orb used by fortune tellers and mystics in popular culture to see into the future. The soothsayer, peering into her crystal ball, foretold that I would come to possess a great fortune by the year's end.
2. By extension, any figurative means of predicting future events. She must have some kind of crystal ball for the economy, because every business decision she's made has been timed perfectly to market fluctuations. Well, Mike, what does your crystal ball say about the team's chances in the playoffs?
A means of predicting the future, as in So what does your crystal ball say about the coming election? The term is a figurative use of the crystal or glass ball used by fortune-tellers. [c. 1900]
a crystal ball
COMMON You talk about a crystal ball when you are saying how difficult it is to predict the future. What you really need to help you select your new car is a crystal ball to tell you how much it will be worth in three or four years' time. Note: You can call the activity of predicting the future crystal ball gazing. Can I ask you now to do a bit of crystal ball gazing? How high do you think the price of oil could go? Note: A crystal ball is a glass ball used by some traditional fortune-tellers (= people who predict what will happen to you in the future). They say that they can see visions of future events within the ball.