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

But the fluid tactics of the black-clad vanguard, which is increasingly using violence, has challenged the resources of a police force determined to crack down on the protests. The Economist, "Hong Kong remains crucially important to mainland China," 8 Aug. 2019 More importantly, the show was the vanguard of a movement to knock down the walls of Hollywood storytelling to make room for voices that have long been kept silent. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Catch up on 'Orange Is the New Black' before Season 7 drops on Friday," 23 July 2019 This is true of every genre of wine, from the most exalted, historic category, like Bordeaux, to highly popular ones like New Zealand sauvignon blanc and rosé, to those on the polarizing vanguard, like natural wines. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Aligoté Defense Rests," 28 June 2018 But the listing for the Alienware Alpha, once the Steam Machine vanguard, stings. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Steam Machines disappear from Steam's hardware tab, but their legacy lives on," 2 Apr. 2018 Sweden is at the vanguard of countries embracing digital payments, so much so that the Scandinavian country could go effectively cashless in less than four years. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Sweden’s march towards a cashless economy went into reverse," 31 July 2019 During his trip, bin Salman -- the de facto ruler of the kingdom that has long seen itself as being at the vanguard of the Muslim world -- appeared to publicly defend his hosts over their treatment of the Uyghurs. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Muslim nations are defending China as it cracks down on Muslims, shattering any myths of Islamic solidarity," 17 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 The women’s collective vibe of EF’s management verges on corniness, but is now at the vanguard of workplace trends. Bridget Read, Vogue, "In the Future, We’ll All Be Wearing Eileen Fisher," 29 May 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

7 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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