van·​guard | \ˈvan-ˌgärd also ˈvaŋ- \

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 also  ˈvaŋ-​ \ noun
vanguardist \ ˈvan-​ˌgär-​dist 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

Finnriver was in the vanguard, entering the market just before U.S. cider production began spiking and widening the horizon of possibilities for fermented apple juice. Providence Cicero, The Seattle Times, "Destination Dining: Finnriver Farm & Cidery," 25 Sep. 2018 Kusama, whose work was in the global vanguard in the 1960s and 70s, is back on the forward edge of a cultural conversation about how to balance access with depth and quality of experience. Steven Litt,, "Kusama 'Infinity Mirrors' show in Toronto offers preview of what's coming to Cleveland (photos)," 6 May 2018 Philadelphia’s move away from Styrofoam puts it in the vanguard., "Philly schools ditch Styrofoam trays, embrace a greener lunch option," 13 Feb. 2018 Abdulhaqq, 14, a student from Douglasville, Ga., is emblematic of the vanguard of today's gun-control movement: young people whose exposure to tragedy has driven them toward activism. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "2 years after the Pulse nightclub shooting, young gun-control activists plan 'die-in' on Capitol Hill," 12 June 2018 Two noteworthy shows in New York argue for a broader understanding of their work while also showcasing its singular appeal for vanguard collectors. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele’ and ‘Obsession’ Reviews: More Than Apocalyptic Visions," 9 July 2018 Hu Qiuping, a safety manager for a chemicals company, is in the urban vanguard. The Economist, "China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions," 21 June 2018 My organization, research and consulting firm Great Place to Work, just published the list of these vanguards of volunteering in partnership with Fortune. Ed Frauenheim, Fortune, "Why Companies That Give Back Also Receive," 9 Feb. 2018 Liedtke sees Canada as on the vanguard, just the second country to nationally legalize recreational marijuana after Uruguay, which began legal sales in 2017. Lornet Turnbull, Washington Post, "When marijuana is legal in Canada, Americans are expected to flock. But the border, and U.S. law, stands in the way.," 11 July 2018

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

16 Nov 2018

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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 vanguard : the soldiers, ships, etc., that are at the front of a fighting force that is moving forward


van·​guard | \ˈvan-ˌgärd \

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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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