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 Balbina’s fate is a forerunner to the poisonings and slaughter Livia and Antigone, too, will make into their legacy. John Anderson, WSJ, 3 June 2021 Already, openings for forerunner roles like robotics technicians grew 50%. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 19 May 2021 An interregional project that involved seven partners across the North Sea (Belgium, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands) was a forerunner to the future EU plan. Emanuela Barbiroglio, Forbes, 4 May 2021 The iPad Pro 2nd Generation and its forerunner's screens are susceptible to damage from drops and other clumsy moves. Cody Stewart,, 27 Mar. 2021 When the 2002 Olympics came to the area, Park City Ski Team coaches chose Ligety to represent the team as a forerunner. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Mar. 2021 Sophisticated scanning technology is revealing intriguing secrets about Little Foot, the remarkable fossil of an early human forerunner that inhabited South Africa 3.67 million years ago during a critical juncture in our evolutionary history. NBC News, 2 Mar. 2021 Mackey, who remains C.E.O., may be understood as a forerunner to the archetypal tech founder, combining a countercultural style with a hostility to regulation. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2021 First came a forerunner of the saw in 1928, which looks remarkably like today’s product. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 18 Mar. 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for forerunner

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forerunner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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