Definition of forerunner in US English:



  • 1A person or thing that precedes the coming or development of someone or something else.

    ‘the icebox was a forerunner of today's refrigerator’
    • ‘This was an early forerunner of the programmes developed some twenty years later for mainstreaming disabled children.’
    • ‘These discs were specially produced for the player, and included forerunners of today's audio books, such as an adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’
    • ‘The watchmen were the forerunners of today's police force.’
    • ‘The suburb is more of an ad hoc social development, a forerunner of the gated community, built around the principle of exclusion.’
    • ‘About 10,000 years ago, the forerunners of today's sheep and goats are the first animals to be domesticated by the Neolithic inhabitants of the area.’
    • ‘Mr Freeman said some people were opposed to anything they saw as a forerunner of development.’
    • ‘Paralyzing the muscles required that the anaesthetist take over the ventilation of the patient's lungs, and this resulted in the development of automatic ventilators, the forerunners of today's life support machines.’
    • ‘As far as Bangalore is concerned, the erstwhile City Improvement Trust Board was the forerunner in developing housing layouts as early as in the nineteen fifties.’
    • ‘In reality he moved into offices in London's Victoria Street and set up the forerunner of today's MI5.’
    • ‘Instead it was added at the cooking stage through the addition of substances like garum, which was made from salted anchovies, the forerunner of today's ketchup.’
    • ‘The forerunner of today's thrill-filled white knuckle rides has been putting people in York in a spin.’
    • ‘The Army bought some for issue to the 1st Special Service Force, forerunners of today's Green Berets.’
    • ‘Should we pity a team that was one of the forerunners in the development of the slowdown, hard-nosed, tough-defending style that bored a generation?’
    • ‘Our aim was to bring these resources together and the work we did made the partnership the forerunner to today's Local Strategic Partnership, which attracts millions of pounds of investment into the area.’
    • ‘They were the forerunners of today's Afrocentric rappers, opening the door to a jazz/hip-hop union that continues to be experimented with from London to New York.’
    • ‘The initiative was perhaps the forerunner of today's hospitality boxes, although with a slight difference.’
    • ‘And V-weapons were the forerunners of many later developments in weapons and space technology.’
    • ‘The forerunners of today's Thais gradually moved from what is now southern China into the area of the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins.’
    • ‘Along with this, Farr developed a classification of diseases, the forerunner of today's international classifications administered by the World Health Organisation.’
    • ‘This situation has almost been reached in Denmark, and the trend may be a forerunner of a development that has begun or will begin in other European countries.’
    predecessor, precursor, antecedent, ancestor, forebear
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    1. 1.1 A sign or warning of something to come.
      ‘overcast mornings are the sure forerunners of steady rain’
      • ‘The Buddha said, ‘Just as the dawn is the forerunner and the first indication of the rising sun, so is right view the forerunner and the first indication of wholesome states.’’
      • ‘Was it perhaps a warning about female intemperance, an early forerunner of Mother's Ruin?’
      • ‘Charlotte writes: ‘The heath is in full bloom now - I have waited and watched for its purple signal as the forerunner of your coming’.’
      • ‘Three birdies in the first five holes saw him close the gap with Els to only one as the players struggled in the continual rain that forecasters warned was a forerunner of a severe gale that was heading towards the Mount Juliet course.’
      • ‘Is this a forerunner of what to expect when the Germany Beck development of up to 700 homes is complete?’
      herald, harbinger, usher, advance guard
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    2. 1.2archaic An advance messenger.
      • ‘But before the storm sinks its teeth into the sky overhead, it sends a forerunner, a messenger to let everyone know it is on its way - the wind.’
      messenger, special messenger, dispatch rider, letter carrier, mail carrier, runner, bearer, message bearer, message carrier, delivery man, delivery woman, conveyor, envoy, emissary, harbinger, herald
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