or front-run·ner, front·run·ner
- a person who leads in any competition.
- an entrant in a race who breaks to the front immediately and establishes the pace for the field.
- an entrant in a race who performs well only when ahead of the field.
Origin of front runner
An Americanism dating back to 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for front runner
In April, Wehby was the front-runner; now, she is trailing badly and Oregon is safely in the D column.What Do Women Want? Not the GOP
September 8, 2014
But being a front-runner can be a curse as much as a blessing.What Hillary Clinton Can Learn From Portugal, Costa Rica, and England in the World Cup
July 1, 2014
Well, Senator Rand Paul last weekend won the straw poll at CPAC, so I guess that means he is now the 2016 front-runner.Does America Really Want to Coronate Hillary?
March 14, 2014
And he's not going to register, I shouldn't think, as they front-runner in the polls.Boehner, the Tea Party, and the Ryan Express
December 13, 2013
Just look at Rubio, who was considered the front-runner for 2016 until he tried and failed to pass an immigration bill.Scott Walker Is the Perfect Republican Candidate for 2016 (on Paper)
November 20, 2013