Definition of bellwether
: one that takes the lead or initiative : leader; also : an indicator of trends
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Examples of bellwether in a Sentence
She is a bellwether of fashion.
High-tech bellwethers led the decline in the stock market.
a county that is a bellwether in national elections
Recent Examples of bellwether from the Web
That eighth-floor outpost near Grand Central Terminal could be the least flashy headquarters of any company on the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 bellwether U.S. corporations.
Heller is seen as a bellwether for how the bill is perceived across the country.
Those who hoped or feared that Tuesday night would be a bellwether for the midterm elections can either shelve their disappointment or ease up on their relief.
Attention has fallen on the race as a bellwether for what's to come in the 2018 midterm elections.
Slate breaks down the runoff for a House seat in Georgia, the most expensive Congressional race in history, which is being viewed as a bellwether for Democrats’ chances in 2018.
Yet the media hype around Ossoff, particularly as a bellwether for Democratic prospects in the 2018 midterms, was always overblown.
Georgia's 6th District lies north of Atlanta and is considered by both parties to be a bellwether for future races as partisan politics continues to roil Washington and the White House.
The suburban Atlanta district, which in recent elections has been considered reliably Republican, is being viewed as a bellwether for the 2018 midterm elections.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bellwether'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
We usually think of sheep more as followers than leaders, but in a flock one sheep must lead the way. Long ago, it was common practice for shepherds to hang a bell around the neck of one sheep in their flock, thereby designating it the lead sheep. This animal was called the bellwether, a word formed by a combination of the Middle English words belle (meaning "bell") and wether (a noun that refers to a male sheep that has been castrated). It eventually followed that bellwether would come to refer to someone who takes initiative or who actively establishes a trend that is taken up by others. This usage first appeared in English in the 13th century.
Origin and Etymology of bellwether
Middle English, leading sheep of a flock, leader, from belle bell + wether; from the practice of belling the leader of a flock
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
BELLWETHER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of bellwether for English Language Learners
: someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future
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