her·​ald | \ˈher-əld, 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

c(1) : officer of arms

(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.

Keep scrolling for more

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


The early flowers are heralds of spring. Mercury was the herald of the Roman gods.


Rain heralds the arrival of spring. The technology heralded a new age of space exploration.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Months ago, its heralds announced that electric scooters had overtaken cities across California. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "Electric Scooters Are the Cargo Shorts of Transportation," 31 May 2018 Image To most people, the buds and sprouts of April are welcome heralds of spring. Zach Montague, New York Times, "Lanternflies Eat Everything in Sight. The U.S. Is Looking Delicious.," 21 May 2018 Tulane also stated its commencement will feature live jazz, herald trumpets, confetti cannons and a second-line procession. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "Steve Gleason among 4 to receive honorary Tulane degree," 7 May 2018 But now that season arrives like a presciently timed herald of the #MeToo-Time’s Up revolution, with 13 female directors and 9 of 13 episodes written or co-written by women. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: ‘Jessica Jones’ Returns, Well Timed for the Time’s Up Moment," 7 Mar. 2018 Still, Atwell thinks the author was a herald of social change. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Hayley Atwell Found Herself in One of Literature’s Greatest Heroines," 30 Apr. 2018 Accompanying the ball Captain were his heralds, Misses Rayven Payton and Rayion Payton. Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "Original Illinois Club Carnival Ball 2018 honors heritage," 12 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The nasty wakeup call heralding that the rural dream is over most for residents usually comes from a developer building a subdivision next door, not from the St. Johns River Water Management District. Lauren Ritchie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "St. Johns water district planning five years of sand-hauling for Lake Norris area residents," 2 July 2018 But the thriller starring John Cho is already being heralded as wildly innovative. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "Tired of endless sequels? Don't miss these original films this summer," 15 June 2018 Science teacher Jason Seaman, being heralded as a hero for stopping the shooter in his classroom, and seventh-grader Ella Whistler were both shot but are expected to recover. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Noblesville finds hope for the future as healing begins after middle school shooting," 26 May 2018 Its coming was heralded by ceremony and fanfare appropriate to the arrival of one of the greatest inventions of this or any generation an invention that probably will have a greater impact on American life than radio did two decades ago. sandiegouniontribune.com, "May 17, 1949: San Diego gets a TV station," 17 May 2018 Initially, the first wave of diversity in media was heralded for letting underrepresented people finally see themselves reflected back in images. Michelle Lee, Allure, "Allure Editor in Chief Michelle Lee on the Importance of Inclusivity in Beauty," 15 May 2018 The most significant question going forward is whether Trump's expulsion of the diplomats heralds a permanent stiffening of approach from Washington towards Moscow. Stephen Collinson And Zachary Cohen, CNN, "US punishes Russia but Trump hedges bets on Putin," 26 Mar. 2018 On hand to herald the return of Washington was Mayor Tom Barrett and a variety of city officials, including Ald. James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Restored George Washington statue, Milwaukee's oldest monument, returns to Wisconsin Ave.," 11 Jan. 2018 Local leaders heralded the push as a way to lower energy bills, grow the local economy and reduce the city’s climate footprint. Justin Worland/pueblo, Time, "How One Industrial City Is Fighting to Go Green," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

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


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


see herald entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about herald

Listen to Our Podcast about herald

Statistics for herald

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for herald

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for herald



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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on herald

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


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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