Definition of bellwether in US English:



  • 1The leading sheep of a flock, with a bell on its neck.

    • ‘There is truly nowhere a sheep will not follow the bellwether.’
    • ‘So a bellwether is the head ram with a bell hung around its neck.’
    • ‘Docile as a bellwether sheep, he let himself be led away, and the rest of the castaways crowded close behind him.’
    1. 1.1 An indicator or predictor of something.
      ‘college campuses are often the bellwether of change’
      as modifier ‘the market's bellwether stock’
      • ‘Government has grown well beyond that point in the United States, making great strides in centralizing and growing political power in the bellwether years of 1861, 1913, 1933, and 1965.’
      • ‘And since changes in the Arctic are considered bellwethers of what is to come further south, the researchers consider this their most urgent environmental wake-up call to date.’
      • ‘Tech stocks also suffered, despite some positive news concerning two bellwethers.’
      • ‘Whether recent gains can be sustained after that will depend on the ability of financial and other industrial stocks to catch up with bellwether electronics that have led the upturn.’
      • ‘She noticed there were fewer dealers bidding this season for stock, which is not a good bellwether.’
      • ‘But a very few will become the bellwethers - and redefine the world.’
      • ‘Florida's the new bellwether state of this country, and so it's more imperative that the problems get fixed here.’
      • ‘Some mention the study in bellwether terms, indicating that it's time for more clinical study of over-the-counter treatments in dermatology and other industries.’
      • ‘In all fairness, there have been a few bellwether albums to emerge from the scene that will no doubt achieve longevity and reiterate the importance of their predecessors.’
      • ‘This is the most demographically chaotic state in the country and, not coincidentally, that's why it's the new bellwether state of this country.’
      • ‘If voters pass it, California - a bellwether state for criminal justice trends - will have among the country's most sweeping DNA sampling policies.’
      • ‘It is a bellwether film in that it illustrates American race and gender inequity more directly and honestly than most Westerns of its time.’
      • ‘These are the bellwethers of the chemical industry.’
      • ‘This cross section of urban and rural makes Ohio a bellwether state which picks the winner in almost every election.’
      • ‘ICI used to be a bellwether of the British manufacturing sector.’
      • ‘On the way to my rural hideout on the fringes of Kansas City came upon three articles - all in the New York Times - that are bellwethers of the emerging power of integrated, interdisciplinary design.’
      • ‘In the days prior to the announcement the market had been nervous that a set of disappointing figures from the bellwether of the tech stocks could have precipitated a significant drop in share prices.’
      • ‘As the world's largest chipmaker, the company is clearly the bellwether for the PC market.’
      • ‘It is considered a bellwether seat and one the ALP needs to secure if they are to win Government.’
      • ‘Nationally, Wisconsin is considered a bellwether state because ban opponents here will have considerable lead time to mount an aggressive campaign to stop the amendment.’