Definition of precursor in English:



  • 1A person or thing that comes before another of the same kind; a forerunner.

    ‘a three-stringed precursor of the violin’
    • ‘On the one hand, alchemy is regarded as a precursor of the modern science of chemistry.’
    • ‘As the first venture develops it is the precursor of what may become a new niche in the travel industry and in holiday home real estate.’
    • ‘It therefore formed a precursor of the Renaissance court.’
    • ‘In so doing, Coram created London's first art gallery, a precursor of the Royal Academy.’
    • ‘In the Netherlands, shared care models have acted as a precursor of the recently introduced concept of disease management.’
    • ‘This is a precursor of the modern Spaghetti alla carbonara, one of the most popular pasta dishes, but of obscure origin.’
    • ‘The pre-meal selection of chutneys is a precursor of the sharp flavours to come.’
    • ‘What appeals to me is that it's a precursor of Pinter and a follower of Coward.’
    • ‘Companies can be guided by key lead indicators which have historically been a precursor of a change in activity levels for their business sector.’
    • ‘The clicking noise is normally a precursor of a lost/broken rivet and should be regarded as a warning sign.’
    • ‘It was an obvious precursor of today's great intermediary, money, in such forms as bank credit.’
    • ‘Hubris has most clearly set in and hubris is the precursor of the end.’
    • ‘This took place in 1922, and was a precursor of the show trials of the following decades.’
    • ‘This monologue dates from 1977, and it is perhaps most interesting as a precursor of the author's later and better work.’
    • ‘Bond's preoccupation with brand names made him a precursor of the consumer society.’
    forerunner, predecessor, forefather, father, parent, antecedent, ancestor, forebear, progenitor
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A substance from which another is formed, especially by metabolic reaction.
      ‘pepsinogen is the inactive precursor of pepsin’
      • ‘The plaque is an accumulation of amino acid protein precursors called A-Beta.’
      • ‘Meat contains cholesterol, a precursor to many hormones, including testosterone.’
      • ‘It also contains various plant steroids that serve as hormone precursors as well as vitamin B 12 and carotene.’
      • ‘It is also the precursor for sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.’
      • ‘Plant substances make precursors of human sex hormones that can be converted in the body.’


Late Middle English: from Latin praecursor, from praecurs- preceded, from praecurrere, from prae beforehand + currere to run.