Why was clemency trending last week?


[hahr-bin-jer] /ˈhɑr bɪn dʒər/
a person who goes ahead and makes known the approach of another; herald.
anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign:
Frost is a harbinger of winter.
a person sent in advance of troops, a royal train, etc., to provide or secure lodgings and other accommodations.
verb (used with object)
to act as harbinger to; herald the coming of.
Origin of harbinger
late Middle English
1125-75; late Middle English herbenger, nasalized variant of Middle English herbegere, dissimilated variant of Old French herberg(i)ere host, equivalent to herberg(ier) to shelter (< Germanic; see harbor) + -iere -er2
2. herald, forerunner, precursor, portent, indication. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for harbinger
  • Oil prices are seen as an indication of current inflation, and gold prices a harbinger of future inflation.
  • Another harbinger of spring on Mars is huge dust storms that sweep across the planet.
  • Saturday night's affair is the harbinger of things to come.
  • Well, I would say the insomnia was the harbinger of an official funk.
  • School strikes have joined football as a harbinger of fall.
  • Virtue is the root of good fortune, and evil the harbinger of calamity.
  • It was a harbinger for a long afternoon.
  • That blunt text message may be a harbinger of things to come.
  • Health care reform in one state may be a harbinger for national effort.
  • The fainting episode, a potential harbinger of heart trouble, was the first symptom to study.
British Dictionary definitions for harbinger


a person or thing that announces or indicates the approach of something; forerunner
(obsolete) a person sent in advance of a royal party or army to obtain lodgings for them
(transitive) to announce the approach or arrival of
Word Origin
C12: from Old French herbergere, from herberge lodging, from Old Saxon heriberga; compare Old High German heriberga army shelter; see harry, borough
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for harbinger

late 15c., herbengar "one sent ahead to arrange lodgings" (for a monarch, an army, etc.), alteration of Middle English herberger "provider of shelter, innkeeper" (late 12c.), from Old French herbergeor, from herbergier "provide lodging," from herber "lodging, shelter," from Frankish *heriberga "lodging, inn" (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German heriberga "army shelter," from heri "army" + berga "shelter"); see harbor. Sense of "forerunner" is mid-16c. Intrusive -n- is 15c. (see messenger). As a verb, from 1640s (harbinge "to lodge" is late 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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