Definition of herald in English:



  • 1An official employed to oversee state ceremonial, precedence, and the use of armorial bearings, and (historically) to make proclamations, carry official messages, and oversee tournaments.

    • ‘He had begged the herald not to announce his presence, but the man didn't seem to understand why the princess' fiancée shouldn't be named just like everyone else.’
    • ‘In time, arms were recorded for reference by heralds on rolls of arms, and became hereditary, passing from father to son.’
    • ‘A herald announced her as the Countess of Andover, then she descended into the crowd of dancing nobles.’
    • ‘A herald announces feasting in honour of Othello's marriage.’
    • ‘At the last moment, her herald blasting a signal on his trumpet, the Kandake veered away from the bristling Roman turtle and flashed past it.’
    • ‘Camden was a respected herald, being Clarenceux's King-of-Arms from 1597 until his death.’
    • ‘An hour passed before the heralds took their place at the doors and announced the arrival of the governor's advisors.’
    • ‘Miri obeyed and rushed back to her post as official fan bearer, an honour almost equal to that of herald.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, the Crown designated a half-dozen sites in London where a herald would read proclamations from the king.’
    • ‘This was announced by heralds sent out to invite all the states to contribute contestants.’
    • ‘The following day she was proclaimed by heralds with flourishes of trumpets at various places in London, to the stony disapproval of the citizens.’
    • ‘The legend tells of the herald Pheidippides delivering his momentous message of victory over the Persian army and then collapsing and dying.’
    • ‘Members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons came to kiss her hand and were graciously received as the heralds proclaimed her in the streets.’
    • ‘The King loved pageantry so there were trumpets and heralds proclaiming his coming.’
    • ‘Sir Ian and his friend Sir Nikholas entered the room after being announced by the herald.’
    • ‘The chief heralds (kings of arms) had by now been officially entrusted with authority to grant or confirm the right to coats.’
    • ‘Gryphon, however, cast a look over his shoulder at her, his eyes gleaming with pride before he signaled for the heralds to open the doors to the ballroom.’
    • ‘All at once, Wormhole Square resounded with a fanfare of trumpets as heralds announced the arrival of a notable procession.’
    • ‘Looking at the rider, his disguised sister, with a look of challenge, he responded with a nod and a hidden grin as the herald announced those who would be moving on to the next round.’
    • ‘By the time the herald quietly announced his name, the cursing had ceased.’
    messenger, courier, bearer of tidings
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    1. 1.1 (in the UK) an official of the College of Arms or the Lyon Court ranking above a pursuivant.
      • ‘I was advised by one of their heralds pursuivant that there is no official or legal way up.’
      • ‘Royal Archers and persuivants and heralds and crown bearers, their playing-card costumes making them look like extras from Alice in Wonderland, provided the ceremonial.’
      • ‘These are the entourages that follow important people around, made up of advisors, heralds, messengers and servants.’
  • 2A person or thing viewed as a sign that something is about to happen.

    ‘they considered the first primroses as the herald of spring’
    • ‘The markets often view it as a herald of global trends.’
    • ‘Although crocuses and windflowers are tiny, they are brave little imps and often the first heralds of spring.’
    • ‘In ‘Del Principe e delle Lettere’, he declared poets to be the heralds of freedom and human dignity and the natural enemies of tyrants.’
    • ‘The New York Times reflects on the silver leaf lettering and the significance of the granite block, a herald for what is to come.’
    • ‘But I would argue that the film can be seen as much more than just a herald signaling the arrival of a coming king.’
    • ‘But with all the close horrors of the Venusian climate let's not lose sight of the view from earth, of the herald of the dawn and the evening star of lovers.’
    • ‘Your answers may help you discover the reason why you're not attracting these wonderful heralds of spring.’
    • ‘For eight centuries they have been the heralds of spring, as sure a sign of impending blue skies and falling blossom as the song of swallows and the appearance of tulips.’
    • ‘The final chapter, ‘The Authorizing Judge: Jesus in the Moral Life,’ examines his role as herald and harbinger of God's kingdom.’
    • ‘It frequently happens that God, prior to doing a great work of revival and renewal among a community of his people, raises up forerunners and heralds of the work.’
    • ‘We'd been penned in by the cops but rumours began to filter through via text messages, the earliest heralds first disbelieved and later pumped for information.’
    • ‘But, still, one wonders if Kidjo, who is really as much a historian as a funky herald of hope, has come close, academically speaking, to the ultimate source of this societal heartbeat.’
    • ‘In February, people pine for a glimpse of this herald of spring, but by April, the robin has already worn out its welcome.’
    • ‘The sign Aries is the most enterprising of all and, being the first sign of the zodiac, stands for ‘firsts’ - trailblazers, pioneers, forerunners and hence heralds.’
    • ‘Crocuses used to be the first heralds of spring in Harrogate, but these days it is the sight of scantily clad young models around the exhibition centre.’
    • ‘Though it was bemoaned at the time, some commentators have viewed this factor more positively as a herald of twentieth-century patterns of fertility.’
    • ‘Mundane objects become celestial heralds, instantly announcing the arrival of shooting stars.’
    • ‘The film ‘The Crow’ stands as both the herald of an undiscovered talent and the bearer of bad tidings that the world lost it.’
    • ‘No other flower heralds spring like a tulip, especially after months of dreary, not to mention cold and snowy, weather.’
    • ‘Through out history drugs have been the herald of the mystic experiences.’
    harbinger, sign, indicator, indication, signal, prelude, portent, omen, augury, forewarning, presage, announcer
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  • 3A brown moth with dull orange markings, often hibernating in houses and old buildings.

    Scoliopteryx libatrix, family Noctuidae


[with object]
  • 1Be a sign that (something) is about to happen.

    ‘the speech heralded a change in policy’
    • ‘Promising signals herald the resurgence of a positive approach to the game.’
    • ‘The announcement heralds the beginning of a five-year program of design work and construction costing $228 million.’
    • ‘His game has expanded to the point where he now commands the reputation his youth promised and in December he turns 30, which traditionally heralds a batsman's prime.’
    • ‘Just a small advertising board heralds its arrival, but eagle-eyed consumers who spied the sign outside Dixons in Coney Street have already got their wallets at the ready.’
    • ‘There have been two announcements this week that herald some good news for consumers and not so good news for credit providers and retailers.’
    • ‘The building industry pact signed this week heralds a new era of co-operation in an industry that has for over a century been a major area of demarcation disputes.’
    • ‘In a potential partner, hands always herald the first signs of intimacy, since a touch precedes a kiss, and that first contact must be oh-so-special.’
    • ‘But the promise of calls to anywhere at virtually zero cost heralds a revolution in telecoms.’
    • ‘Along with the improved play of the national team, there are other favorable signs heralding the successful hosting of the global soccer festival, such as the onrush of foreign tourists.’
    • ‘David Sanger heralded these talks as a sign that the Administration had fundamentally altered its approach to the North.’
    • ‘For the pulmonary clinician, this heralds the dawn of promising therapies in various domains such as infections, allergy, and cancer.’
    • ‘The northeast expects, and has received, promising showers which herald the advancing summer.’
    • ‘It will be a moment of deep sadness that will, unless some bowlers of similar calibre are unearthed soon, herald Sri Lanka's slide down the world rankings.’
    • ‘All the leading indicators which normally herald the economic boom cycle have started showing signs of instability.’
    • ‘The prime minister had been due to formally announce a review of British energy policy, which many predict will herald the building of a new generation of domestic nuclear reactors.’
    • ‘This wonderful celebration to herald the start of summer promises to become an annual event.’
    • ‘But the clear signs of a recession herald an end to this development.’
    • ‘Can we take the recent bargain sale of hard-bound editions at hugely reduced rates as a signal heralding the impending tempest befalling the book market?’
    • ‘With this bill it ignores a court decision, yet on the seabed and foreshore issue it heralds a court decision.’
    • ‘The announcement heralds a significant step forward in the development of global data synchronization, to establish a network with standards compliance and no redundant services.’
    signal, indicate, announce, point to, spell, presage, augur, portend, promise, prefigure, foreshadow, foretell, usher in, show in, pave the way for, open the way for, be a harbinger of, be a forerunner, be a precursor of
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    1. 1.1 Acclaim.
      ‘the band have been heralded as the great hope for the nineties’
      • ‘The plans have been heralded as a new era of the housing market.’
      • ‘The measure has been heralded as a key move to limit violence from animal rights campaigners.’
      • ‘They have been heralded as the dawn of a brave new world of financial security, where like eager beavers we stash away our surplus nuts for the future.’
      • ‘A free market in a variety of goods and services was announced then, and private foreign investment was heralded as the main engine of change.’
      • ‘This web site offers a wide variety of custom paper products, announcements and photo cards to herald the arrival of a new baby.’
      • ‘But it was ‘The Ice Storm’ which heralded a series of critically acclaimed performances.’
      • ‘The fifth annual tour of Tourmakeady took place recently and has been heralded as a big success.’
      • ‘In producing this 16-page Birthday Announcement we are heralding the start of a year of celebrations which we hope you will all feel part of.’
      • ‘The site of Australia's Federal parliament house was much heralded as a design befitting a nation that had come of age.’
      • ‘Gene therapy has been heralded as the one, or only, way to cure some diseases.’
      • ‘The book has been heralded as a gay Latino version of Jacqueline Susann's classic ‘Valley of the Dolls.’’
      • ‘In 2003, he signed a proclamation heralding the recovery of the American alligator.’
      • ‘The deal has been heralded as the first modern-day treaty in the province.’
      • ‘Celibacy is also heralded as a sign of the reign of God and of the resurrection.’
      • ‘Rosa's stand has been heralded as the beginning of the US civil rights movement.’
      • ‘While the fighting continues, the press is busy heralding the verbal ceasefire agreement.’
      • ‘The new licensing laws have been heralded as the greatest thing since some fella came along with a knife and decided to slice bread.’
      • ‘The series really hit a chord with viewers of all ages and has been heralded as good family entertainment.’
      • ‘The singing, performed by both males and females, is thought to announce territorial boundaries, attract a mate, or even herald a birth.’
      • ‘In this day and age of online marketing, content has been heralded as king, and for good reasons.’


Middle English: from Old French herault (noun), herauder (verb), of Germanic origin.