herald

[her-uhld]
noun
1.
(formerly) a royal or official messenger, especially one representing a monarch in an ambassadorial capacity during wartime.
2.
a person or thing that precedes or comes before; forerunner; harbinger: the returning swallows, those heralds of spring.
3.
a person or thing that proclaims or announces: A good newspaper should be a herald of truth.
4.
(in the Middle Ages) an officer who arranged tournaments and other functions, announced challenges, marshaled combatants, etc., and who was later employed also to arrange processions, funerals, etc., and to regulate the use of armorial bearings.
5.
an official intermediate in rank between a king-of-arms and a pursuivant, in the Heralds' College in England or the Heralds' Office in Scotland.
verb (used with object)
6.
to give news or tidings of; announce; proclaim: a publicity campaign to herald a new film.
7.
to indicate or signal the coming of; usher in.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English herau(l)d < Old French herau(l)t < Frankish *heriwald, equivalent to *heri army + *wald commander (see wield). Compare name Harold


7. publicize, ballyhoo, tout.
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World English Dictionary
herald (ˈhɛrəld)
 
n
1.  a.  a person who announces important news
 b.  (as modifier): herald angels
2.  literary often a forerunner; harbinger
3.  the intermediate rank of heraldic officer, between king-of-arms and pursuivant
4.  (in the Middle Ages) an official at a tournament
 
vb
5.  to announce publicly
6.  to precede or usher in
 
[C14: from Old French herault, of Germanic origin; compare Old English here war; see wield]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

herald
late 13c. (in Anglo-Latin), "messenger, envoy," from Anglo-Fr. heraud, from O.Fr. heraut, hiraut, perhaps from Frankish *hariwald "commander of an army," from P.Gmc. *kharjaz "army" (from PIE root *koro- "war") + *wald- "to command, rule" (see wield). The form fits, but the
sense evolution is difficult to explain, unless in ref. to the chief officer of a tournament, who introduced knights and made decisions on rules. The verb is late 14c., from the noun. Heraldry "art of arms and armorial bearings" is first recorded late 14c., as heraldy, from O.Fr. hiraudie, from hiraut, originally "heralds collectively." The spelling with -r- is attested from 1570s (cf. poetry, pedantry).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
To be honest, we hesitate to herald such facts.
Clouds, too, often herald changes in the weather.
They are tiny members of the buttercup family and one of the earliest flowers
  to herald winter's end.
Evaporation will begin and with it the great snowfalls that will herald a new
  ice age.
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