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

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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 Meet Kongonaphon kely, a pocket sized dinosaur forerunner that was smaller than your cellphone. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Fossils reveal dinosaur forerunner smaller than a cellphone," 6 July 2020 Pack said the result was a bipartisan agreement that an overhaul was necessary and pointed to comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2013 about AGM’s forerunner. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump global media chief says he acted legally in 'Wednesday night massacre'," 28 June 2020 Still, Ehresmann says it’s important to remember that Minnesota was the first to experience massive demonstrations, which makes the state a sort of forerunner, and not necessarily predictive of what other states might observe. Megan Molteni, Wired, "What Minnesota’s Protests Are Revealing About Covid-19 Spread," 18 June 2020 The machine was built between 1982 and 1984, when the laboratory was a part of the National Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (NIRIM), one of NIMS’ forerunners. Mark Zastrow, Scientific American, "The Crystal Kings," 26 Nov. 2019 There are guitar forerunners here: an oud, a theorbo, a charrango (with a soundbox made of armadillo skin). Mark Feeney,, "Guitars, stars, and attitude," 11 July 2019 Saturday marked the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, a proposal in 1950 that laid the groundwork for the European Coal and Steel Community -- the forerunner to the European Union. Fox News, "Turkey's Erdogan calls to 'revitalize' relationship with EU amid coronavirus pandemic," 10 May 2020 The Wolf Prize is considered one of the forerunners to a Nobel Prize. Washington Post, "Gene-editing tool’s pioneers win Israel’s Wolf Prize," 13 Jan. 2020 Increasingly a voyeur and a caricature, someone who has brought his own kind of sickness to Venice, Mann’s protagonist is a somber reminder of the infection within, an eerie forerunner of the elite who populate today’s ruling classes. Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic, "The Pandemic Imagination," 16 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for forerunner

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

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Statistics for forerunner

Last Updated

20 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forerunner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for forerunner


How to pronounce forerunner (audio)

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 How to pronounce forerunner (audio) \

Kids Definition of forerunner

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

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