her·​ald | \ ˈher-əld How to pronounce herald (audio) , ˈhe-rəld \

Definition of herald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an official at a tournament of arms (see arm entry 3 sense 1a) with duties including the making of announcements and the marshaling of combatants
b : an officer with the status of ambassador acting as official messenger between leaders especially in war
(2) : an officer of arms ranking above a pursuivant and below a king of arms
2 : an official crier or messenger Mercury was the gods' herald.
3a : one that precedes or foreshadows heralds of a coming storm
b : one that conveys news or proclaims : announcer it was the lark, the herald of the morn— William Shakespeare
c : one who actively promotes or advocates : exponent


heralded; heralding; heralds

Definition of herald (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give notice of : announce a gong used to herald the new year the approach of a cold air mass … is heralded by a shift of the wind— P. E. James
2a : to greet especially with enthusiasm : hail doctors are heralding a new drug
b : publicize a highly heralded event
3 : to signal the approach of : foreshadow The technology heralded a new age of space exploration.

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Choose the Right Synonym for herald


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

Did You Know?


The exact origin of "herald" is uncertain, but it is thought to derive from Germanic roots. Specifically, etymologists believe that "herald" developed from an assumed Frankish compound whose first component is akin to the Old High German heri-, meaning "army," and whose second component is akin to the Old High German word waltan, meaning "to rule." When "herald" first appeared on the scene in the 14th century, it referred to an official at a tournament of arms whose duties included the making of announcements. The verb forms, extending the "announcement" idea, soon followed.

Examples of herald in a Sentence

Noun The early flowers are heralds of spring. Mercury was the herald of the Roman gods. Verb Rain heralds the arrival of spring. The technology heralded a new age of space exploration.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After the herald Sean Spicero hideth from the public enemies in the press, he is replac’d by the Lady Sarah Puckabee. Joseph Peschel | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "'MacTrump’ turns Donald Trump’s first two years as president into a Shakespearean satire," 3 Oct. 2019 Taking over As befits such a dramatic ambition, the heralds of the IOT are fond of very big numbers. The Economist, "Drastic falls in cost are powering another computer revolution," 12 Sep. 2019 One of the most conspicuous heralds is a bonny buttercup named the winter aconite. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "As summer’s heat wanes, it’s time to plan (and plant) for late-winter beauty," 4 Sep. 2019 According to some spiritual paths, hummingbirds are heralds of joy. Web Behrens, chicagotribune.com, "15 things to do with the kids Aug. 12-18," 11 Aug. 2019 Hark the herald angels, Ellis finally listened and brought in younger players! SI.com, "Women's World Cup Throwback: 5 Moments Which Defined the USWNT's Four-Year Journey to the Top," 29 July 2019 Luckily, there’s one herald of summertime in San Francisco that speaks to renewal. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s cutest employees munch down fire hazards," 14 June 2019 By next January, that number could change. ___ MAKING HISTORY The night could witness a generational change in Congress and herald in a number of barrier-breaking officeholders. Ken Thomas, The Seattle Times, "WHAT TO WATCH: After turbulent campaign, it’s up to voters," 7 Nov. 2018 Müller’s success in a modern 4-2-3-1 formation was the herald of a new generation. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 1 Day to Go - Germany's Mild-Mannered Goal Machine, Miroslav Klose," 13 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In another incident, Vela tried to bill the county $2,147 for new uniform patches heralding her as the county’s first female constable. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "Bexar County commissioners move a step closer to ousting controversial constable," 2 Oct. 2019 The recommendation for Blue and White is a sort of harbinger that can herald the dawn of the Arab-Jewish Spring. Andrew Carey, CNN, "Why Israel's Arab parties made a historic move against Netanyahu," 23 Sep. 2019 But people in recruiting circles will tell you that a talent that heralded even being in the stadium, curious about Oregon State, was a major development. oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State football blowout victory was a $600,000 bargain," 14 Sep. 2019 Researchers have successfully used stem cells in order to create early embryo-like structures that could herald a major in advance in both drug development and fertility research. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The FDA Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigs. What Happens Next?—Brainstorm Health," 11 Sep. 2019 Cristobal heralded him during bowl practices and was on his way to a solid spring until breaking his thumb. oregonlive.com, "Oregon Ducks fall camp breakdown: Wide receivers," 29 July 2019 With the help of strong legal protections passed in 1972, the population of these marine mammals has skyrocketed, heralding a successful recovery. Ashley Braun, Longreads, "Research and Rescue: Saving Species from Ourselves," 24 Oct. 2019 Sims transferred, opening the door for the less heralded Blake Sims to emerge. al, "Rewinding Nick Saban’s QB recruiting with the addition of 5-star Bryce Young," 26 Sep. 2019 Regardless, pumpkin-everything season is upon us, heralding the return of Starbucks highly anticipated PSL. Julie Sprankles, USA TODAY, "Pumpkin spice latte recipe: How to make it at home," 5 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'herald.' 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 herald


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for herald

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French heraud, herald, from Frankish *heriwald-, literally, leader of an armed force, from *heri- army + *wald- rule; akin to Old High German heri- army, waltan to rule — more at harry, wield

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Time Traveler for herald

Time Traveler

The first known use of herald was in the 14th century

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Statistics for herald

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Herald.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herald. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for herald


How to pronounce herald (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of herald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sign that something will happen
: an official messenger in the past



English Language Learners Definition of herald (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be a sign of (something that is beginning to happen or will happen soon)
: to greet (someone or something) with enthusiasm


her·​ald | \ ˈher-əld How to pronounce herald (audio) \

Kids Definition of herald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an official messenger
2 : a person who brings news or announces something


heralded; heralding

Kids Definition of herald (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give notice of : announce
2 : foretell … in his sleep he heard the faintest sound and knew whether it heralded peace or peril.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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