Definition of herald in English:



  • 1An official messenger bringing news.

  • 2A person or thing viewed as a sign that something is about to happen.

    ‘they considered the first primroses as the herald of spring’
    • ‘Your answers may help you discover the reason why you're not attracting these wonderful heralds of spring.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In February, people pine for a glimpse of this herald of spring, but by April, the robin has already worn out its welcome.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No other flower heralds spring like a tulip, especially after months of dreary, not to mention cold and snowy, weather.’
    • ‘The markets often view it as a herald of global trends.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Through out history drugs have been the herald of the mystic experiences.’
    • ‘But I would argue that the film can be seen as much more than just a herald signaling the arrival of a coming king.’
    • ‘Though it was bemoaned at the time, some commentators have viewed this factor more positively as a herald of twentieth-century patterns of fertility.’
    • ‘The film ‘The Crow’ stands as both the herald of an undiscovered talent and the bearer of bad tidings that the world lost it.’
    • ‘Although crocuses and windflowers are tiny, they are brave little imps and often the first heralds of spring.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mundane objects become celestial heralds, instantly announcing the arrival of shooting stars.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The final chapter, ‘The Authorizing Judge: Jesus in the Moral Life,’ examines his role as herald and harbinger of God's kingdom.’
    harbinger, sign, indicator, indication, signal, prelude, portent, omen, augury, forewarning, presage, announcer
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  • 3historical An official employed to oversee state ceremony, precedence, and the use of armorial bearings, and to make proclamations, carry ceremonial messages, and oversee tournaments.

    • ‘A herald announced her as the Countess of Andover, then she descended into the crowd of dancing nobles.’
    • ‘Sir Ian and his friend Sir Nikholas entered the room after being announced by the herald.’
    • ‘Camden was a respected herald, being Clarenceux's King-of-Arms from 1597 until his death.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Miri obeyed and rushed back to her post as official fan bearer, an honour almost equal to that of herald.’
    • ‘This was announced by heralds sent out to invite all the states to contribute contestants.’
    • ‘The chief heralds (kings of arms) had by now been officially entrusted with authority to grant or confirm the right to coats.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, the Crown designated a half-dozen sites in London where a herald would read proclamations from the king.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In time, arms were recorded for reference by heralds on rolls of arms, and became hereditary, passing from father to son.’
    • ‘A herald announces feasting in honour of Othello's marriage.’
    • ‘By the time the herald quietly announced his name, the cursing had ceased.’
    • ‘The King loved pageantry so there were trumpets and heralds proclaiming his coming.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An hour passed before the heralds took their place at the doors and announced the arrival of the governor's advisors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All at once, Wormhole Square resounded with a fanfare of trumpets as heralds announced the arrival of a notable procession.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    messenger, courier, bearer of tidings
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  • 1Be a sign that (something) is about to happen.

    ‘the speech heralded a change in policy’
    • ‘David Sanger heralded these talks as a sign that the Administration had fundamentally altered its approach to the North.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With this bill it ignores a court decision, yet on the seabed and foreshore issue it heralds a court decision.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All the leading indicators which normally herald the economic boom cycle have started showing signs of instability.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Promising signals herald the resurgence of a positive approach to the game.’
    • ‘The northeast expects, and has received, promising showers which herald the advancing summer.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For the pulmonary clinician, this heralds the dawn of promising therapies in various domains such as infections, allergy, and cancer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the promise of calls to anywhere at virtually zero cost heralds a revolution in telecoms.’
    • ‘The announcement heralds the beginning of a five-year program of design work and construction costing $228 million.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1usually be heralded Acclaim.
      ‘the band has been heralded as the industrial supergroup of the '90s’
      • ‘The deal has been heralded as the first modern-day treaty in the province.’
      • ‘The fifth annual tour of Tourmakeady took place recently and has been heralded as a big success.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it was ‘The Ice Storm’ which heralded a series of critically acclaimed performances.’
      • ‘While the fighting continues, the press is busy heralding the verbal ceasefire agreement.’
      • ‘The site of Australia's Federal parliament house was much heralded as a design befitting a nation that had come of age.’
      • ‘This web site offers a wide variety of custom paper products, announcements and photo cards to herald the arrival of a new baby.’
      • ‘In 2003, he signed a proclamation heralding the recovery of the American alligator.’
      • ‘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 book has been heralded as a gay Latino version of Jacqueline Susann's classic ‘Valley of the Dolls.’’
      • ‘Gene therapy has been heralded as the one, or only, way to cure some diseases.’
      • ‘Celibacy is also heralded as a sign of the reign of God and of the resurrection.’
      • ‘The plans have been heralded as a new era of the housing market.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rosa's stand has been heralded as the beginning of the US civil rights movement.’
      • ‘The measure has been heralded as a key move to limit violence from animal rights campaigners.’
      • ‘The new licensing laws have been heralded as the greatest thing since some fella came along with a knife and decided to slice bread.’


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