avant-garde

[ uh-vahnt-gahrd, uh-vant-, av-ahnt-, ah-vahnt-; French a-vahn-gard ]
/ əˌvɑntˈgɑrd, əˌvænt-, ˌæv ɑnt-, ˌɑ vɑnt-; French a vɑ̃ˈgard /

noun

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

of or relating to the experimental treatment of artistic, musical, or literary material.
belonging to the avant-garde: an avant-garde composer.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for avant-garde

British Dictionary definitions for avant-garde

avant-garde

/ (ˌævɒŋˈɡɑːd, French avɑ̃ɡard) /

noun

those artists, writers, musicians, etc, whose techniques and ideas are markedly experimental or in advance of those generally accepted

adjective

of such artists, etc, their ideas, or techniques
radical; daring
Derived Formsavant-gardism, nounavant-gardist, noun

Word Origin for avant-garde

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 avant-garde

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