Synonyms & Antonyms of herald

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a person who actively supports or favors a cause
  • an outspoken herald of prison reform

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2 one that announces or indicates the later arrival of another
  • the American robin—the herald of spring in the North

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Synonyms & Antonyms of herald (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to give a slight indication of beforehand
  • the reshuffle of the company's management heralded the sweeping changes to come

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2 to make known openly or publicly
  • herald the great tidings to all the world

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Frequently Asked Questions About herald

How is the word herald distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of herald are forerunner, harbinger, 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

In what contexts can forerunner take the place of herald?

Although the words forerunner and herald have much in common, forerunner is applicable to anything that serves as a sign or presage.

the blockade was the forerunner of war

When is it sensible to use precursor instead of herald?

While in some cases nearly identical to herald, 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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The first known use of herald was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Herald.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on herald

Nglish: Translation of herald for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of herald for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about herald


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