- a person or thing that precedes, as in a job, a method, etc.; predecessor.
- a person, animal, or thing that goes before and indicates the approach of someone or something else; harbinger: The first robin is a precursor of spring.
- Chemistry, Biochemistry. a chemical that is transformed into another compound, as in the course of a chemical reaction, and therefore precedes that compound in the synthetic pathway: Cholesterol is a precursor of testosterone.
- Biology. a cell or tissue that gives rise to a variant, specialized, or more mature form.
Origin of precursor
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. forerunner. 2. herald.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for precursor
That convention, though poorly attended, was the precursor to the Constitutional Convention.Washington’s Wheeler-Dealer Patriotism
October 31, 2014
It includes a quote from Ehud Olmert, the interim Prime Minister of Israel in 2003, as a precursor to gameplay.‘Bomb Gaza’ Game Maker: ‘F**k Them All’
August 5, 2014
Here, the blockage of RNA prevents extra amyloid from being produced by targeting its precursor protein and making less of it.Trial Drug Reverses Alzheimer’s Disease in Mice
May 24, 2014
In fact, of all the precursor awards, the SAG is probably the best indicator of the eventual Oscar winner.The SAG Awards Best Speeches…And What They Mean for Oscar
January 19, 2014
What could audiences possibly gain from watching Hollywood personnel go through the motions of adhering to an Asian precursor?What Asian Film Remakes Like ‘Oldboy’ Get Wrong
November 26, 2013
That particular morning seemed to me to be the precursor of a new era.My Double Life
The Washington, however, was only the precursor of greater vessels.
A lively caricature, the precursor of Dickens' "American Notes."Afloat on the Ohio
Reuben Gold Thwaites
Has he been rightly called a precursor of the modern spirit?Erasmus and the Age of Reformation
Rarity, as geology tells us, is the precursor to extinction.On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
- a person or thing that precedes and shows or announces someone or something to come; harbinger
- a predecessor or forerunner
- a chemical substance that gives rise to another more important substance
C16: from Latin praecursor one who runs in front, from praecurrere, from prae in front + currere to run
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 precursor
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- One that precedes and indicates something to come.
- One that precedes another; a forerunner or predecessor.
- A biochemical substance, such as an intermediate compound in a chain of enzymatic reactions, that gives rise to a more stable or definitive product.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.