front-run·​ner ˈfrənt-ˌrə-nər How to pronounce front-runner (audio)
: a contestant who runs best when in the lead
: a leading contestant in or as if in a rivalry or competition
a political front-runner

Examples of front-runner in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Two high-ranking officials on separate teams — one from each conference — believe Lee is a lead candidate and front-runner to be Clifford’s successor. Roderick Boone, Charlotte Observer, 4 Apr. 2024 Houston thought the Warriors were pretentious front-runners. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 4 Apr. 2024 Tuesday is primary day in New York, where former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are the front-runners, having already clinched their respective parties' 2024 nominations last month. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 2 Apr. 2024 Isaiah Wynn is expected to be the front-runner to start at left guard. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 1 Apr. 2024 Embiid dropped 51 points on 17-of-25 shooting and 12 rebounds against the Timberwolves and Defensive Player of the Year front-runner Rudy Gobert on Dec. 20, while Tyrese Maxey had 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting and five assists in that same game. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 But the Texas law has provoked an unusual moment of unity between the two front-runners — Claudia Sheinbaum, a López Obrador ally, and Xóchitl Gálvez, the main challenger from the opposition — who both have criticized the legislation and U.S. treatment of migrants. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2024 Rule 5 Draft pick Matt Sauer is a front-runner for the final spot. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 The decision by Ohio voters on Tuesday to nominate Bernie Moreno to take on Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, is the capstone of a year that has crowned nominees — or anointed clear front-runners — with remarkable wealth in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Montana and now Ohio. Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'front-runner.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of front-runner was in 1914

Dictionary Entries Near front-runner

Cite this Entry

“Front-runner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!