• synonyms


[fawr-ruhn-er, fohr-, fawr-ruhn-er, fohr-]
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  1. predecessor; ancestor; forebear; precursor.
  2. an omen, sign, or indication of something to follow; portent: The warm evenings were a forerunner of summer.
  3. a person who goes or is sent in advance to announce the coming of someone or something that follows; herald; harbinger.
  4. the Forerunner, John the Baptist.
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Origin of forerunner

First recorded in 1250–1300, forerunner is from the Middle English word forrenner. See fore-, runner
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for forerunner

precursor, originator, harbinger, prognostic, author, announcer, advocate, envoy, pioneer, progenitor, prototype, ancestor, advertiser, initiator, predecessor, antecedent, omen, announcement, pattern, augury

Examples from the Web for forerunner

Contemporary Examples of forerunner

Historical Examples of forerunner

British Dictionary definitions for forerunner


  1. a person or thing that precedes another; precursor
  2. a person or thing coming in advance to herald the arrival of someone or something; harbinger
  3. an indication beforehand of something to follow; omen; portent
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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 forerunner


c.1300, from fore + runner. Middle English rendition of Latin praecursor, in reference to John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ. The Old English word was foreboda.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper