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 Since the 16-year-old Swedish activist has became known one of the world’s most powerful voices heralding the threat of climate change, the U.S. President has repeatedly criticized her. Tara Law, Time, "Greta Thunberg: 'I Wouldn't Have Wasted My Time' Talking to President Trump," 30 Dec. 2019 Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has blanketed the airwaves with commercials heralding his entry into the Democratic presidential race. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg to open Milwaukee campaign office Saturday," 20 Dec. 2019 Tech, often heralded for its potential to advance society, is now viewed more skeptically by the media and some of the public. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Silicon Valley' finale: How show lampoons and mirrors tech world - "It feels like a documentary"," 6 Dec. 2019 The 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef is often a narrative of devastating coral bleaching, heralding its imminent death. National Geographic, "Three by sea: Life-changing tales from female travelers," 14 Nov. 2019 Elections in several states had Democrats heralding victories for their party. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Kentucky Election Results: Democrat’s Claimed Win in Governor's Race Should Worry Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell," 6 Nov. 2019 There was no news conference Monday heralding the extension of the David Ross-Anthony Rizzo bromance, which became official when the Cubs picked up Rizzo’s $16.5 million option for 2020, a week after hiring Ross as their manager. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Theo Epstein says the Cubs have no ‘untouchables.’ But Anthony Rizzo’s bromance with David Ross makes him the closest thing.," 3 Nov. 2019 The region’s weather picture is changing dramatically Tuesday with sunshine being replaced by glowering clouds heralding thunderstorms, possible localized flooding, and heavy rains especially in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, "Heavy rains across region, especially in Bristol and Plymouth counties and Newport, R.I.," 13 Aug. 2019 And there is no reason to fear a win for the humanists heralding the bulldozing of dozens of crosses around the country. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court blesses a cross-shaped war memorial in Maryland," 20 June 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

Cite this Entry

“Herald.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herald?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=herald01. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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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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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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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