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harbinger

[hahr-bin-jer] /ˈhɑr bɪn dʒər/
noun
1.
a person who goes ahead and makes known the approach of another; herald.
2.
anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign:
Frost is a harbinger of winter.
3.
a person sent in advance of troops, a royal train, etc., to provide or secure lodgings and other accommodations.
verb (used with object)
4.
to act as harbinger to; herald the coming of.
Origin of harbinger
late Middle English
1125-1175
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
Synonyms
2. herald, forerunner, precursor, portent, indication.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for harbinger
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is the beginning of desires, the beginning of life, the dawn of a beautiful summer day, harbinger of the sunrise.

    Urania Camille Flammarion
  • I once beheld it as the harbinger of happiness, as the temple of integrity and innocence.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • The returning sun of spring was but the harbinger of new woes for war-stricken Europe.

  • John was the harbinger not alone of the kingdom but of the King; and to him the King in person came.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • The arrival of a letter was, therefore, looked upon as the harbinger of some calamity or as conveying news of great importance.

    Romances of Old Japan Yei Theodora Ozaki
British Dictionary definitions for harbinger

harbinger

/ˈhɑːbɪndʒə/
noun
1.
a person or thing that announces or indicates the approach of something; forerunner
2.
(obsolete) a person sent in advance of a royal party or army to obtain lodgings for them
verb
3.
(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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for harbinger
n.

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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