See more synonyms for herald on Thesaurus.com
  1. (formerly) a royal or official messenger, especially one representing a monarch in an ambassadorial capacity during wartime.
  2. a person or thing that precedes or comes before; forerunner; harbinger: the returning swallows, those heralds of spring.
  3. a person or thing that proclaims or announces: A good newspaper should be a herald of truth.
  4. (in the Middle Ages) an officer who arranged tournaments and other functions, announced challenges, marshaled combatants, etc., and who was later employed also to arrange processions, funerals, etc., and to regulate the use of armorial bearings.
  5. an official intermediate in rank between a king-of-arms and a pursuivant, in the Heralds' College in England or the Heralds' Office in Scotland.
verb (used with object)
  1. to give news or tidings of; announce; proclaim: a publicity campaign to herald a new film.
  2. to indicate or signal the coming of; usher in.

Origin of herald

1300–50; Middle English herau(l)d < Old French herau(l)t < Frankish *heriwald, equivalent to *heri army + *wald commander (see wield). Compare name Harold

Synonyms for herald

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for herald

Contemporary Examples of herald

Historical Examples of herald

  • It thinks that the Herald is not the leading paper, though it may have Ben-it.

  • Hinde had recently been appointed editor of the Evening Herald.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • He felt much happier when he left the Herald offices than he had felt when he entered them.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Her broad back had been unrecognized by the herald, careless in her haste.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • When she came to Plattville, he told her what the editor of the "Herald" had done for him.

British Dictionary definitions for herald


    1. a person who announces important news
    2. (as modifier)herald angels
  1. often literary a forerunner; harbinger
  2. the intermediate rank of heraldic officer, between king-of-arms and pursuivant
  3. (in the Middle Ages) an official at a tournament
verb (tr)
  1. to announce publicly
  2. to precede or usher in

Word Origin for herald

C14: from Old French herault, of Germanic origin; compare Old English here war; see wield
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 herald

late 13c. (in Anglo-Latin); c.1200 as a surname, "messenger, envoy," from Anglo-French heraud, Old French heraut, hiraut (12c.), perhaps from Frankish *hariwald "commander of an army," from Proto-Germanic *harja "army" (from PIE root *koro- "war;" see harry) + *waldaz "to command, rule" (see wield). The form fits, but the sense evolution is difficult to explain, unless in reference to the chief officer of a tournament, who introduced knights and made decisions on rules (which was one of the early senses, often as heraud of armes, though not the earliest in English).


late 14c., "to sound the praises of," from herald (n.). Related: Heralded; heralding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper