We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


noun har·bin·ger \ˈhär-bən-jər\

: something that shows what is coming

Full Definition of HARBINGER

archaic :  a person sent ahead to provide lodgings
a :  one that pioneers in or initiates a major change :  precursor
b :  one that presages or foreshadows what is to come

Examples of HARBINGER

  1. <her father's successful job interview was seen as a harbinger of better times to come>


Middle English herbergere, from Anglo-French, host, from herberge camp, lodgings, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German heriberga
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of HARBINGER

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>.



Definition of HARBINGER

transitive verb
:  to be a harbinger of :  presage

Examples of HARBINGER

  1. <the hope that the housing slump does not harbinger a general economic recession>

First Known Use of HARBINGER



Next Word in the Dictionary: harbinger–of–springPrevious Word in the Dictionary: HaratinAll Words Near: harbinger
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears