1

harbinger

play
noun har·bin·ger \ˈhär-bən-jər\

Definition of harbinger

  1. 1 archaic :  a person sent ahead to provide lodgings

  2. 2a :  one that initiates a major change :  a person or thing that originates or helps open up a new activity, method, or technology :  pioneer <the great legal harbinger of the New Deal revolution — Time> <a harbinger of nanotechnology> <the harbingers of peace to a hitherto distracted … people — David Livingstone>b :  something that foreshadows a future event :  something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come <robins, crocuses, and other harbingers of spring>

Examples of harbinger in a sentence

  1. <her father's successful job interview was seen as a harbinger of better times to come>

Did You Know?

When medieval travelers needed lodging for the night, they went looking for a harbinger. As long ago as the 12th century, "harbinger" was used to mean "one who provides lodging" or "a host," but that meaning is now obsolete. By the late 1300s, "harbinger" was also being used for a person sent ahead of a main party to seek lodgings, often for royalty or a campaigning army, but that old sense has largely been left in the past, too. Both of those historical senses are true to the Anglo-French parent of "harbinger," the word herberge, meaning "lodgings." The most common sense of the word nowadays, the "forerunner" sense, has been with us since the mid-1500s.

Origin and Etymology of harbinger

Middle English herbergere, from Anglo-French, host, from herberge camp, lodgings, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German heriberga


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of harbinger

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>.

2

harbinger

verb har·bin·ger

Definition of harbinger

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to give a warning or prediction of :  to be a harbinger (see 1harbinger) of <harbingered the fall of Rome>

Examples of harbinger in a sentence

  1. <the hope that the housing slump does not harbinger a general economic recession>

Origin and Etymology of harbinger

see 1harbinger


First Known Use: 1646


HARBINGER Defined for English Language Learners

1

harbinger

play
noun har·bin·ger \ˈhär-bən-jər\

Definition of harbinger for English Language Learners

  • : something that shows what is coming



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