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avant-garde

[uh-vahnt-gahrd, uh-vant-, av-ahnt-, ah-vahnt-; French a-vahn-gard]
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noun
  1. the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods.
adjective
  1. of or relating to the experimental treatment of artistic, musical, or literary material.
  2. belonging to the avant-garde: an avant-garde composer.
  3. unorthodox or daring; radical.

Origin of avant-garde

1475–85; in sense “vanguard”; < French: literally, fore-guard. See vanguard
Related formsa·vant-gard·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for avantgarde

avant-garde

noun
  1. those artists, writers, musicians, etc, whose techniques and ideas are markedly experimental or in advance of those generally accepted
adjective
  1. of such artists, etc, their ideas, or techniques
  2. radical; daring
Derived Formsavant-gardism, nounavant-gardist, noun

Word Origin

from French: vanguard
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for avantgarde

avant-garde

n.

(also avant garde, avantgarde); French, literally "advance guard" (see avant + guard (n.)). Used in English 15c.-18c. in a literal, military sense; borrowed again 1910 as an artistic term for "pioneers or innovators of a particular period." Also used around the same time in communist and anarchist publications. As an adjective, by 1925.

The avant-garde générale, avant-garde stratégique, or avant-garde d'armée is a strong force (one, two, or three army corps) pushed out a day's march to the front, immediately behind the cavalry screen. Its mission is, vigorously to engage the enemy wherever he is found, and, by binding him, to ensure liberty of action in time and space for the main army. ["Sadowa," Gen. Henri Bonnal, transl. C.F. Atkinson, 1907]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper