Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

forerunner

play
noun fore·run·ner \ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər\

Simple Definition of forerunner

  • : someone or something that comes before another

  • : a sign of something that is going to happen

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of forerunner

  1. 1 :  one that precedes and indicates the approach of another: as a :  a premonitory sign or symptom b :  a skier who runs the course before the start of a race

  2. 2 :  predecessor, ancestor

Examples of forerunner in a sentence

  1. a simple machine that was the forerunner of today's computers

  2. I had that strange feeling that's the forerunner of a cold.



13th Century

First Known Use of forerunner

13th century

Synonym Discussion of forerunner

forerunner, precursor, harbinger, herald mean one that goes before or announces the coming of another. forerunner is applicable to anything that serves as a sign or presage <the blockade was the forerunner of war>. precursor applies to a person or thing paving the way for the success or accomplishment of another <18th century poets like Burns were precursors of the Romantics>. harbinger and herald both apply, chiefly figuratively, to one that proclaims or announces the coming or arrival of a notable event <their early victory was the harbinger of a winning season> <the herald of a new age in medicine>.

FORERUNNER Defined for Kids

forerunner

play
noun fore·run·ner \ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər\

Definition of forerunner for Students

  1. :  someone or something that comes before especially as a sign of the coming of another





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up forerunner? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by grandiloquent style

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex soothe disapprove reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ