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Word of the Day
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Definitions for harbinger

  1. (Archaic) One who provides lodgings; especially, the officer of the English royal household who formerly preceded the court when traveling, to provide and prepare lodgings.
  2. A forerunner; a precursor; one that presages or foreshadows what is to come.
  3. To signal the approach of; to presage; to be a harbinger of.

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Citations for harbinger
Comets have been mistakenly interpreted by humans in times past as harbingers of doom, foretelling famine, plague, and destruction. Walter Alvarez, T. Rex and the Crater of Doom
More than the steamboat, more than anything else, the railroads were the harbinger of the future, and the future was the Industrial Revolution. Stephen E. Ambrose, Nothing Like It In the World
Origin of harbinger
late Middle English
Harbinger, which originally signified a person sent ahead to arrange lodgings, derives from Middle English herbergeour, "one who supplies lodgings," from Old French herbergeor, from herbergier, "to provide lodging for," from herberge, "a lodging, an inn" (cp. modern French auberge), ultimately of Germanic origin.