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 Vaughan was the first black supervisor at the NACA, the forerunner of NASA, and led the West Area Computing unit for nine years. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "NASA’s ‘Hidden Figures’ to receive Congressional Gold Medals," 10 Nov. 2019 But this kind of speech becomes the forerunner and justification of cruel and destructive actions. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: FYI to new students: This state needs better accountants," 1 Sep. 2019 The forerunner of what today is CBS-2 — which later gave its call letters to what since 1968 has been ABC-owned and -operated WLS-Ch. Phil Rosenthal,, "The Cubs’ 1946 TV debut came nearly 3 months after their 1st telecast was supposed to air. So yeah, there were problems.," 13 July 2019 In the end, Avraham is thereby protective of the forerunners of Islam, Hagar and their son Yishmael. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Judaism has nationalistic as well as universalistic dimensions," 11 Nov. 2019 But the Chevrolet Suburban — the forerunner of the modern SUV — has stood the test of time. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Chevy seeks more Suburban cred as national vehicle of Texas," 7 Nov. 2019 The third professional women’s soccer league launched since America’s resounding 1999 World Cup victory, the NWSL has lasted long past the point where its forerunners folded. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville is getting a National Women's Soccer League franchise. Here's what to know," 22 Oct. 2019 Nor is likening these new Wednesday Night Wars to their Monday forerunners a perfect comparison. Dan Greene,, "Wrestling’s New ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ Are a Throwback to the Sport’s ’90s Heyday," 3 Oct. 2019 Archaeologists have long believed that the forerunners of the cranes that now dot the skylines of cities across the globe were invented by Greek engineers around 515 B.C. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Ancient Greeks Used Machines to Lift Stones 150 Years Earlier Than Previously Believed," 29 Aug. 2019

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

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Forerunner.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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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Comments on forerunner

What made you want to look up forerunner? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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