crystal ball

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crystal ball

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?
See also: ball, crystal

crystal ball

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]
See also: ball, crystal

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.
See also: ball, crystal
References in periodicals archive ?
The Humean has not, after all, cornered the market on undermining futures, since their existence is a by-product of crystal balls.
Never mind, for now, whether crystal balls are possible, and hence whether anything could count as evidence for them.
But this idea is misguided, assuming crystal balls are possible: for it is exactly the lesson of crystal balls--a lesson which Humean and anti-Humean alike should heed--that situations can arise in which a single, highly localized, perfectly ordinary chance outcome is an undermining future.
No wonder the Old Principle had trouble with crystal balls, even in the easy cases treated here--and no wonder the New Principle does not.
If they are also happy to reject undermining futures, then, as noted above, they are invited to support their position on crystal balls by contraposing my argument: undermining futures are impossible, therefore so are crystal balls.
A still less obvious virtue of the New Principle is that it neatly handles at least some crystal ball cases.
Myself, I think that arguments such as this show not that crystal ball scenarios are inconsistent, but rather that they are inconsistent with various other features which we might have thought it unproblematic to add.
Let E contain crystal ball information to the effect that the outcome "up" will be obtained.