- a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell.
- a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry: Paris is a bellwether of the fashion industry.
- a person or thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.
- a person who leads a mob, mutiny, conspiracy, or the like; ringleader.
Origin of bellwether
SynonymsSee more synonyms for bellwether on Thesaurus.com
2. leader, pacesetter, frontrunner, trailblazer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for bellwether
Brad Plumer notes that Walmart sales are often a bellwether for the rest of the economy.Walmart Customers Have Disappeared. Will They Take the Economy With Them?
February 19, 2013
So Ohio is more than just a bellwether; it could decide the election.Virginia, Ohio, Florida: What to Watch For on Election Night 2012
November 6, 2012
One state both candidates are sure to spend time in is Ohio, which has already emerged once again as a bellwether in the race.Despite Obama’s Policies, The Rust Belt’s Revival Could Save His Campaign
June 25, 2012
One safe prediction, though: whichever side wins will waste no time assuring the nation that their victory is a bellwether.The Race to Replace Weiner
David A. Graham
September 13, 2011
Of the Bellwether Prize, Durrow says simply: “It changed my whole life.”A Novelist's Biracial Struggle
John Douglas Marshall
March 12, 2010
The crowd does not imitate or follow its leader as sheep do a bellwether.Introduction to the Science of Sociology
Robert E. Park
And what is the use of arguing with sheep who are leaping after the bellwether?The Champagne Standard
Mrs. John Lane
Without some governing body to direct the affairs of the country they would have been like a flock without its bellwether.Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-day
Haji A. Browne
And the whole nine of us obligingly trudged after him like sheep after the bellwether, and reëntered the castle.The Adventures of the Eleven Cuff-Buttons
James Francis Thierry
But take a sheep flock now—the bellwether is jest a nice gentle old castrate thet'll do jest whut the sheepherder wants.Assassin
Jesse Franklin Bone
- a sheep that leads the herd, often bearing a bell
- a leader, esp one followed unquestioningly
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 bellwether
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper