[ uh-vahnt-gahrd, uh-vant-, av-ahnt-, ah-vahnt-; French a-vahn-gard ]
/ əˌvɑntˈgɑrd, əˌvænt-, ˌæv ɑnt-, ˌɑ vɑnt-; French a vɑ̃ˈgard /
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See synonyms for: avant-garde / avant-gardes on Thesaurus.com


the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods.


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.



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Origin of avant-garde

1475–85; in sense “vanguard”; <French: literally, fore-guard. See vanguard

OTHER WORDS FROM avant-garde

a·vant-gard·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for avant-garde

/ (ˌævɒŋˈɡɑːd, French avɑ̃ɡard) /


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


of such artists, etc, their ideas, or techniques
radical; daring

Derived forms of avant-garde

avant-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