Thesaurus

harbinger

noun

Synonyms of harbinger

(Entry 1 of 2)

one that announces or indicates the later arrival of another
  • her father's successful job interview was seen as a harbinger of better times to come

Synonyms for harbinger

Words Related to harbinger

harbinger

verb

Synonyms of harbinger (Entry 2 of 2)

to give a slight indication of beforehand
  • the hope that the housing slump does not harbinger a general economic recession

Synonyms for harbinger

Words Related to harbinger

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Frequently Asked Questions About harbinger

How is the word harbinger distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of harbinger are forerunner, herald, and precursor. While all these words mean "one that goes before or announces the coming of another," 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

When would forerunner be a good substitute for harbinger?

While the synonyms forerunner and harbinger are close in meaning, forerunner is applicable to anything that serves as a sign or presage.

the blockade was the forerunner of war

When could precursor be used to replace harbinger?

The meanings of precursor and harbinger largely overlap; however, 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

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Time Traveler for harbinger

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The first known use of harbinger was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near harbinger

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Cite this Entry

“Harbinger.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/harbinger. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on harbinger

Nglish: Translation of harbinger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harbinger for Arabic Speakers

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