front runner

or front-run·ner, front·run·ner

See more synonyms for front runner on
  1. a person who leads in any competition.
  2. an entrant in a race who breaks to the front immediately and establishes the pace for the field.
  3. 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for frontrunner

Contemporary Examples of frontrunner

British Dictionary definitions for frontrunner


  1. informal the leader or a favoured contestant in a race, election, etc
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 frontrunner

also front-runner, of political candidates, 1908, American English, a metaphor from horse racing (where it is used by 1903 of a horse that runs best while in the lead).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper