Definition of vanguard in US English:



  • 1A group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas.

    ‘the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard’
    • ‘I'm nostalgic for the vanguard feminism of the past!’
    • ‘College graduates are the vanguard of a cultural shift away from divorce.’
    • ‘It does not require conspiracy-theorist paranoia to wonder if this is in fact a vanguard action to assess how a ban might work in England and Wales.’
    • ‘Student activists abandoned conservative blue collar politics and proclaimed themselves the vanguard of social change.’
    • ‘Moreover, this state was controlled by a party that considered itself a vanguard in a backward society, mobilizing and transforming its citizens.’
    • ‘Some protest about the idea of a vanguard, a party offering leadership to the working class, a notion they denounce as ‘elitist’.’
    • ‘It must regain its original role as the vanguard of the working class in its struggle for true emancipation.’
    • ‘For over a decade now, bhangra music has been the vanguard for Asian culture's crossover into the mainstream.’
    • ‘His greatest contribution to his whole epoch was his determined struggle to build a vanguard party capable of leading the workers in revolution.’
    • ‘The fashion vanguard will have to develop new strategies to resist the taunts of the uncultured.’
    • ‘Social realism became the vanguard in the African American struggle for equality and racial justice in Depression-era America.’
    • ‘The political groups aspiring to power today emerged in the late 1980s and formed a vanguard of the independence movement.’
    • ‘In that case, some of the core countries, led by France and Germany, would almost certainly try to go ahead on their own, in a self-styled vanguard group.’
    • ‘Women were no less prominent than men in resistance, and they may even have been in the vanguard, particularly in cultural resistance.’
    • ‘They are the vanguard of a social revolution and will have a huge influence on the shape of society in the next two decades.’
    • ‘We are the vanguard of the new civil rights movement.’
    • ‘Alpine is a small but rapidly growing town in the foothills near the edge of the Cleveland National Forest, a vanguard settlement of one of San Diego's many suburban tendrils.’
    • ‘The role of the artist is to act as the vanguard of humanity's search for meaning.’
    • ‘In Thailand, young women who sell beauty products are perceived as a vanguard of modernity whose independent income repositions them in relation to family and kin.’
    • ‘In this view, the British and the Danes were the main problem, though there have also been fears that Central and East Europeans may impede the Union's development unless a vanguard can proceed without them.’
    1. 1.1 A position at the forefront of new developments or ideas.
      ‘the prototype was in the vanguard of technical development’
      • ‘It shows that we are moving in the right direction and we are at the vanguard nationally of integrating our children's and family services with education.’
      • ‘In the vanguard of the movement is a consortium of new free-market think tanks.’
      • ‘Over the years the economic ebb and flow dictated political change, with the educated middle classes typically at the vanguard of reform movements.’
      • ‘What the company needs is a new vision of itself - one that motivates employees, excites investors, and places it once again in the vanguard of an industry on the march.’
      • ‘He pointed out that track cycling was in the vanguard of Scottish international sport.’
      • ‘‘It is also quite meaningful that Asian countries are in the vanguard for this bright move to the future in the world of racing,’ he added.’
      • ‘He argues that the creation of three new rail stations, the introduction of park-and-ride facilities and the opening up of greenways for buses places the city in the vanguard of 21st-century urban development.’
      • ‘We want Australians to be in the vanguard of the worldwide knowledge revolution.’
      • ‘Now we are at the centre of European and international politics - negotiating EU treaties and occupying a prominent position in the vanguard of the Information Age.’
      • ‘The medical profession has been in the vanguard of the struggle against smoking for 50 years.’
      • ‘I'm just not sure that being on the vanguard of this particular social movement will be much help.’
      • ‘News last week that the UK is close to setting up the world's first stem cell bank was hailed as another step in the right direction, putting Britain firmly in the vanguard of stem cell research.’
      • ‘Today it is people with two degrees who may be expected to be in the vanguard of the struggle.’
      • ‘Even though the Bay Area was not in the vanguard of developing a distinct hip-hop style, audiences and dancers have embraced it with a vengeance.’
      • ‘They are at the vanguard of the technical revolution, cramming their homes with more and more of the latest gadgets.’
      • ‘They sounds like a band having fun again, no longer feeling the pressure of being at the vanguard of popular rock.’
      • ‘His carefully negotiated product loyalties place him in the vanguard of a powerful new industry.’
      • ‘Since then, the company has stayed in the vanguard of the market by consistently promoting technology standardization and adopting state-of-the-art technologies ahead of others.’
      • ‘It is no wonder that islands, stationed on the front lines of both the rising tides of climate change and a vulnerability to high oil prices, are in the vanguard of the hydrogen push.’
      • ‘The plan coincides with a nationwide scheme by English Heritage called ‘Save Our Streets’, and when York's plans are adopted it will put the city in the vanguard of that campaign.’
      forefront, van, advance guard, avant-garde, spearhead, front, front line, front rank, fore, lead, leading position, cutting edge, driving force
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  • 2The foremost part of an advancing army or naval force.

    • ‘Nelson's tactics slicing the enemy line ensured the vanguard played a negligible role in the battle which followed.’
    • ‘Having been in the vanguard of the attack at the beginning of the battle they had lost most of their tanks and were rehorsed in Grants and Shermans for the second main attack on the 2nd of November.’
    • ‘The vanguard of the army began crossing the river in late afternoon on 6 April.’
    • ‘If the vanguard gets too far ahead of the supply train, it will run short of food, fuel and ammunition.’
    • ‘Two hundred and four warriors formed the vanguard of the army.’


Late Middle English (denoting the foremost part of an army): shortening of Old French avan(t)garde, from avant ‘before’ + garde ‘guard’.