precursor

noun
pre·​cur·​sor | \ pri-ˈkər-sər How to pronounce precursor (audio) , ˈprē-ˌkər- How to pronounce precursor (audio) \

Definition of precursor

1a : one that precedes and indicates the approach of another
2 : a substance, cell, or cellular component from which another substance, cell, or cellular component is formed

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Other Words from precursor

precursory \ pri-​ˈkərs-​rē How to pronounce precursory (audio) , -​ˈkər-​sə-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for precursor

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

Precursor Has Latin Roots

With its prefix pre-, meaning "before", a precursor is literally a "forerunner", and in fact forerunner first appeared as the translation of the Latin praecursor. But the two words function a little differently today. A forerunner may simply come before another thing, but a precursor generally paves the way for something. So, for example, the Office of Strategic Services in World War II was the immediate precursor of today's Central Intelligence Agency, while the blues music of the 1930s and 1940s was only one of the precursors of the rock and roll of today.

Examples of precursor in a Sentence

18th-century lyric poets like Robert Burns were precursors of the Romantics a precursor of the modern eggplant

Recent Examples on the Web

An important precursor to Downton Abbey, Gosford Park was written by Julian Fellowes and Hollywood icon Robert Altman, who also directed. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Richard E. Grant's Oscar Nomination Is Long Overdue," 24 Feb. 2019 The young National Assembly chief, whom lawmakers chose to lead an interim presidency in a direct challenge to Mr. Maduro, has argued that political change would be a precursor to economic reforms to restore stability. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "China Talks With Venezuela Opposition to Protect Investments," 12 Feb. 2019 Since the Hubble started tracking the storms, increased cloud activity has been a regular precursor to their appearance. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Hubble Observes Ice Giant Vortexes and Polar Storms on Neptune and Uranus," 9 Feb. 2019 The agreement required Syria to join the OPCW and declare all its chemical weapons and precursors, and there is growing frustration at Damascus' failure to satisfactorily answer all outstanding questions from the OPCW about its declaration. Fox News, "Watchdog says gaps in Syria's chemical weapons declaration," 3 Aug. 2018 Pressure to raise wages during expansions will inevitably be seen as precursors to insidious inflationary pressure. Patricia Cohen, BostonGlobe.com, "Paychecks lag as profits soar, and prices erode wage gains," 14 July 2018 Tuesday's complaint was filed by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, who served as chairman of the House committee that investigated Greitens as a precursor to possible impeachment. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Top Pence aide Nick Ayers denies breaking the law while running Greitens campaign," 11 July 2018 At that point, his program aired on the Eastern Educational Network (a PBS precursor) and was called Misterogers’ Neighborhood. Maxwell King, Time, "Get an Exclusive Look Inside the First Full-Length Mister Rogers Biography," 1 June 2018 Edwardo Rodriguez, who was a deportation officer from 1996 to 2004 for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s precursor), spoke at the panel. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Organizations near and far take action against family separation," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precursor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of precursor

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for precursor

Middle English precursoure, from Latin praecursor, from praecurrere to run before, from prae- pre- + currere to run — more at current

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Dictionary Entries near precursor

precurrent

precurse

precursive

precursor

precut

precyst

pred

Statistics for precursor

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precursor

The first known use of precursor was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for precursor

precursor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of precursor

somewhat formal : something that comes before something else and that often leads to or influences its development

precursor

noun
pre·​cur·​sor | \ pri-ˈkər-sər How to pronounce precursor (audio) , ˈprē-ˌ How to pronounce precursor (audio) \

Medical Definition of precursor

1 : one that precedes and indicates the onset of another angina may be the precursor of a second infarction
2 : a substance, cell, or cellular component from which another substance, cell, or cellular component is formed especially by natural processes

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