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[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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for harbingers
  • They developed code-breaking machines that were harbingers of today's computers.
  • But the gizmos he carries with him and the images they produce are harbingers of profound change.
  • harbingers control share acquisition statement is available here.
  • The mainstream press attacked the hippies and the festivals as harbingers of dope, debauchery, and destruction.
  • There had been early harbingers of the trouble ahead.
  • They were the harbingers of the real city, rather than the cliché that was receding behind me.
  • Personal hygiene preferences and biases masquerading as harbingers of environmental crises remain a puzzle to me.
  • Even the crows were welcome, as the sable harbingers of a brighter and livelier race.
  • The waves are almost always the harbingers of disasters.
  • Peas and asparagus, and lemon-all those bright and happy harbingers of summer.
British Dictionary definitions for harbingers


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for harbingers



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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