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

That struggle makes Novak an important forerunner for today’s actresses advocating for gender equality in post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood. Washington Post, "60 years later, Kim Novak reflects on ‘Vertigo’," 16 Mar. 2018 Depending on an early version of crowd-sourcing to find capital for his operation, Haldeman-Julius employed a forerunner of GoFundMe, asking his readers to loan him money for expansion. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "‘Publisher for the Masses’ Review: Culture Served in a Blue Wrapper," 19 July 2018 But there’s also an open-ended spiritual quest to Mr. Atkins’s sojourns, which follow closely in the footsteps of religious and literary forerunners who were lured by the rewards of extreme renunciation. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "‘The Immeasurable World’ Review: Solitude in the Sand," 26 July 2018 They were all woven by women who, with their by-hand technique, were artistic forerunners to Martin, presaging her painstaking geometries. Ted Loos, WSJ, "Inside a New Agnes Martin Exhibition in Palo Alto, California," 15 Aug. 2018 And since modern East African herders don't use their livestock as beasts of burden, Hildebrand and her colleagues assume their ancient forerunners didn't either. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists explore East Africa’s ancient monumental cemeteries," 21 Aug. 2018 Its forerunner, the Mini 9, will do in a pinch if budget is a consideration, but there’s still something richer and more pleasing to the eye about square ratio film. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "The best instant camera for the beach," 10 Aug. 2018 Starting in the 1970s, Peter H. Wood and Richard S. Dunn drew historians’ eyes to South Carolina and the English West Indies as forerunners of the U.S. slave economy. Kathleen Duval, WSJ, "‘1619’ and ‘Marooned’ Review: Filling in Early America’s Blanks," 25 Oct. 2018 In the chaos that followed, the NKVD — Stalin’s intelligence agency and forerunner of the KGB — made a mistake that would doom all the Soviet agents who would infiltrate the Manhattan Project, the top-secret American effort to build an atomic bomb. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "Chance Encounters," 17 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for forerunner

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

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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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