van·​guard | \ ˈvan-ˌgärd also ˈvaŋ- How to pronounce vanguard (audio) \

Definition of vanguard

1 : the forefront of an action or movement
2 : the troops moving at the head of an army

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Other Words from vanguard

vanguardism \ ˈvan-​ˌgär-​ˌdi-​zəm How to pronounce vanguardism (audio) also  ˈvaŋ-​ \ noun
vanguardist \ ˈvan-​ˌgär-​dist How to pronounce vanguardist (audio) also  ˈvaŋ-​ \ noun

Synonyms for vanguard


avant-garde, cutting edge, van

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Examples of vanguard in a Sentence

a style of jazz that the vanguard quickly recognized as new and exciting talk radio is often regarded as being in the vanguard of the conservative movement

Recent Examples on the Web

During the 1970s, Viola was a vanguard leader experimenting with the relatively new medium of video. USA TODAY, "Chicago cows, bras for turtles, gold rush: News from around our 50 states," 1 July 2019 Ultimately, Democrats may have overestimated Oregonians’ overall willingness to be at the vanguard of the fight on global climate change., "How Oregon’s climate-change bill ran out of gas," 30 June 2019 Already the vanguard is here, and the officers have laid out their camps and made everything ready for their forces. Evening Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: 1924: San Diego hosts Civil War veterans," 9 June 2019 Oak Hill Capital Partners is joining the growing vanguard of private-equity firms looking to data science and artificial intelligence to bolster its operations. Laura Kreutzer, WSJ, "Oak Hill Capital Adds Two Data Experts to Its Ranks," 6 Feb. 2019 National artistic vanguards tend to come in two types. The New York Review of Books, "Ratik Asokan," 22 Dec. 2018 But from the ashes of that 2016 mishap came a showdown between the new pioneer of space, SpaceX, versus the old vanguard of the cosmos, NASA. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX and NASA Reach Agreement on Astronaut Safety," 20 Aug. 2018 Magic mushrooms, whose active ingredient is psilocybin, are in the vanguard. The Economist, "Magic mushrooms, illegal in most places, may have therapeutic uses," 7 June 2019 With his wife, Marion Sandler, who died in 2012, Sandler was in the vanguard of untraditional home lending. Laurence Arnold,, "Herbert Sandler, half of couple who built a home-lending giant, dies at 87," 6 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for vanguard

Middle English vauntgard, borrowed from Anglo-French vantgarde, avantgarde, from avant- "fore-" (from avant "before," going back to Late Latin abante) + garde guard entry 1 — more at advance entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near vanguard



van Gogh



van Hoorne's canal


Statistics for vanguard

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for vanguard

The first known use of vanguard was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for vanguard



English Language Learners Definition of vanguard

: the group of people who are the leaders of an action or movement in society, politics, art, etc.
: the soldiers, ships, etc., that are at the front of a fighting force that is moving forward


van·​guard | \ ˈvan-ˌgärd How to pronounce vanguard (audio) \

Kids Definition of vanguard

1 : the troops moving at the front of an army
2 : forefront

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Comments on vanguard

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


to complain fretfully

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