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front runner

or front-runner, frontrunner

a person who leads in any competition.
an entrant in a race who breaks to the front immediately and establishes the pace for the field.
an entrant in a race who performs well only when ahead of the field.
Origin of front runner
An Americanism dating back to 1935-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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front runner

noun phrase

The leader in a contest, election, etc: That left as front runners Runcie and England's second-ranking churchman (1914+ fr racing)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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