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
Precursor Has Latin Roots
With its prefix pre-, meaning "before", a precursor is literally a "forerunner", and in fact forerunner first appeared as the translation of the Latin praecursor. But the two words function a little differently today. A forerunner may simply come before another thing, but a precursor generally paves the way for something. So, for example, the Office of Strategic Services in World War II was the immediate precursor of today's Central Intelligence Agency, while the blues music of the 1930s and 1940s was only one of the precursors of the rock and roll of today.
Examples of precursor in a Sentence
18th-century lyric poets like Robert Burns were precursors of the Romantics
a precursor of the modern eggplant
Recent Examples on the WebThe upcoming Party in the Park is actually a precursor of sorts to what North Olmsted hopes to introduce next summer.
John Benson, cleveland, 20 July 2022 By the early 1970s, Kramer was done barnstorming and headed a group that was the precursor of the current ATP Tour.
Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2022 Winning her first tournament at age 5 was just a precursor of things to come.
Emmett Hall, Sun Sentinel, 6 May 2022 In the 1980s, a precursor of fetishcore emerged in pop culture with the help of artists like Madonna and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, who used leather, lingerie and harnesses to exhibit the subculture’s impact on the world stage.
Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 2 May 2022 In a precursor of the IMF’s new economic outlook to be released on Tuesday, Dynan estimated global growth will slow to 3.3% this year and next, compared with 5.8% in 2021.
Eric Martin, Fortune, 17 Apr. 2022 Pilots with the Air Lines Pilots Association also protested last week in New York City outside the airline’s Investor Relations Day in a precursor of Friday’s picket.
Gillian Flaccus, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Apr. 2022 Pilots with the Air Lines Pilots Association also protested last week in New York City outside the airline’s Investor Relations Day in a precursor of Friday's picket.
Gillian Flaccus, ajc, 1 Apr. 2022 In a precursor of the current conflict, Russia invaded the region and backed pro-Russian separatist groups that seized control there eight years ago.
Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Mar. 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precursor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.