[ hahr-bin-jer ]
/ ˈhɑr bɪn dʒər /


a person who goes ahead and makes known the approach of another; herald.
anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign: Frost is a harbinger of winter.
a person sent in advance of troops, a royal train, etc., to provide or secure lodgings and other accommodations.

verb (used with object)

to act as harbinger to; herald the coming of.

Origin of harbinger

1125–75; late Middle English herbenger, nasalized variant of Middle English herbegere, dissimilated variant of Old French herberg(i)ere host, equivalent to herberg(ier) to shelter (< Germanic; see harbor) + -iere -er2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for harbinger

British Dictionary definitions for harbinger

/ (ˈhɑːbɪndʒə) /


a person or thing that announces or indicates the approach of something; forerunner
obsolete a person sent in advance of a royal party or army to obtain lodgings for them


(tr) to announce the approach or arrival of

Word Origin for harbinger

C12: from Old French herbergere, from herberge lodging, from Old Saxon heriberga; compare Old High German heriberga army shelter; see harry, borough
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