[ uh-vahnt-gahrd, uh-vant-, av-ahnt-, ah-vahnt-; French a-vahn-gard ]
See synonyms for: avant-gardeavant-gardes on Thesaurus.com

  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.

  1. of or relating to the experimental treatment of artistic, musical, or literary material.

  2. belonging to the avant-garde: an avant-garde composer.

  1. unorthodox or daring; radical: To regain public trust in the news media, the organization took the avant-garde approach of including the public in the production of news.

Origin of avant-garde

First recorded in 1475–85; in sense “vanguard”; from French: literally, “fore-guard;” see vanguard

Other words from avant-garde

  • a·vant-gard·ist, noun

Words Nearby avant-garde

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use avant-garde in a sentence

  • If there is any shadowing of either of you, Jules Victor is an invincible avant garde.

    A Fascinating Traitor | Richard Henry Savage
  • She got possession of the kiln, as usual, and the ass was sent to graze on the green; but Mary was only the avant-garde.

    A History of the Gipsies | Walter Simson
  • These five divisions were the avant garde of the main body of the Italian army.

  • We then started at a smart pace, but could not come up with our avant garde.

  • Reading the avant-garde stuff of nowadays, usually the contrast is merely grotesque, still I keep finding parallels.

British Dictionary definitions for avant-garde


/ (ˌævɒŋˈɡɑːd, French avɑ̃ɡard) /

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

  1. of such artists, etc, their ideas, or techniques

  2. radical; daring

Origin of avant-garde

from French: vanguard

Derived forms of avant-garde

  • avant-gardism, noun
  • avant-gardist, noun

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