fore·​run·​ner | \ ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər How to pronounce forerunner (audio) \

Definition of forerunner

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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of forerunner in a Sentence

a simple machine that was the forerunner of today's computers I had that strange feeling that's the forerunner of a cold.
Recent Examples on the Web The franchise, which began as the Philadelphia Warriors, won the first Basketball Association of America — a forerunner to the NBA — title in 1947 before capturing the crown again in 1956. David K. Li, NBC News, 17 June 2022 The Legge family crest, a forerunner to the Stars and Stripes flag. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 10 June 2022 Vroman’s notion of community expanded with its customers, including students at the adjacent Throop University (forerunner to the California Institute of Technology) and visiting scholars at the nearby Huntington Library. Lynell George, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 That ship, which sank during an engagement with the French in 1545, was the pride of King Henry VIII’s fleet and was seen by historians as the forerunner of British navy ships., 10 June 2022 Still, the book’s very structure, cleaved in half by the 2016 U.S. election, makes every leader appear as either a forerunner or an analogue to Trump. Krithika Varagur, The New Republic, 11 Apr. 2022 The 6,500-acre park is named after Jay Norwood Darling, an editorial cartoonist who was an early pioneer for wildlife conservation and served as director of the U.S. Biological Survey (forerunner of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) in the 1930s. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 20 Jan. 2022 The company is a forerunner in the retail optimization space. Russ Zalatimo, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Historically speaking, alchemy dates back to medieval times as the forerunner of chemistry and, in particular, the science of finding a universal elixir to turn base metals into gold. The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of forerunner

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of forerunner was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Forerunner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for forerunner


fore·​run·​ner | \ ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər How to pronounce forerunner (audio) \

Kids Definition of forerunner

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

More from Merriam-Webster on forerunner

Nglish: Translation of forerunner for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forerunner for Arabic Speakers


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