fore·run·ner | \ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər \

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

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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 modest illustrator served in the Office Of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. Stu Bykofsky,, "Camden-born illustrator, turning 100, left his mark on Nazi trials | Stu Bykofsky," 17 May 2018 What’s still debated, though, is which 1968 recording initially adapted a reggae beat distinctive from its rocksteady forerunner. Patricia Meschino, Billboard, "As Reggae Celebrates 50 Years, Some of the Genre's Pioneers Look Back on Its Worldwide Ascent," 1 July 2018 Although technology has evolved, signs like these were the forerunners to the glowing red exit signs ubiquitous in modern theaters. Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian, "The Iroquois Theater Disaster Killed Hundreds and Changed Fire Safety Forever," 12 June 2018 Containing some of the nation’s first bike lanes, and lined with roughly 11,000 trees, Eastern Parkway can be seen today as a forerunner of today’s complete streets concept. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "10 Streets that Changed America," 5 July 2018 Her father was a shipyard supervisor, her mother a renowned home cook whose sauteed banana dessert was a forerunner of bananas Foster, a staple at Brennan’s Restaurant. Washington Post, "Ella Brennan, matriarch of New Orleans restaurant family, dies at 92," 2 June 2018 Bare-knuckle fighting was the forerunner of modern boxing with the last major bare-knuckle fight being held more than 100 years ago. Washington Post, "Bare-knuckle boxing from a bygone era looks for a comeback," 1 June 2018 In many other countries, however, this year’s tantrum is not yet as bad as its forerunner. The Economist, "Why countries like Argentina and Turkey fret about exchange rates," 21 June 2018 Grand Banking Hall of the Austrian Postal Savings Bank Photo: MAK/Hagen Stier (photo) Wagner’s aluminum vent, its function aestheticized, is a forerunner of the revolutionary exterior Renzo Piano designed for the Pompidou Center in Paris. A. J. Goldmann, WSJ, "How Otto Wagner Made Vienna Modern," 12 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of forerunner

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for forerunner

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for forerunner

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

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More Definitions for forerunner



English Language Learners Definition of forerunner

: someone or something that comes before another

: a sign of something that is going to happen


fore·run·ner | \ˈfȯr-ˌrə-nər \

Kids Definition of forerunner

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

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