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[her-uh ld] /ˈhɛr əld/
(formerly) a royal or official messenger, especially one representing a monarch in an ambassadorial capacity during wartime.
a person or thing that precedes or comes before; forerunner; harbinger:
the returning swallows, those heralds of spring.
a person or thing that proclaims or announces:
A good newspaper should be a herald of truth.
(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.
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)
to give news or tidings of; announce; proclaim:
a publicity campaign to herald a new film.
to indicate or signal the coming of; usher in.
Origin of herald
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for herald
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Good, my lad,” said Cuchulain; “these are the tokens of a herald.

    Irish Fairy Tales Edmond Leamy
  • I sent a herald with them, whom they might send back with the news.

  • He thought of her passing a sleepless night, waiting for news, the dupe and victim of every sound that might herald a messenger.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport Robert Neilson Stephens
  • Only, first, tell me how that absurd account of it got into the “herald”?

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
  • He said he was shewn it in the herald's office spelt fourteen different ways.

British Dictionary definitions for herald


  1. a person who announces important news
  2. (as modifier): herald angels
(often literary) a forerunner; harbinger
the intermediate rank of heraldic officer, between king-of-arms and pursuivant
(in the Middle Ages) an official at a tournament
verb (transitive)
to announce publicly
to precede or usher in
Word Origin
C14: from Old French herault, of Germanic origin; compare Old English here war; see wield
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 herald

late 13c. (in Anglo-Latin); c.1200 as a surname, "messenger, envoy," from Anglo-French heraud, Old French heraut, hiraut (12c.), perhaps from Frankish *hariwald "commander of an army," from Proto-Germanic *harja "army" (from PIE root *koro- "war;" see harry) + *waldaz "to command, rule" (see wield). The form fits, but the sense evolution is difficult to explain, unless in reference to the chief officer of a tournament, who introduced knights and made decisions on rules (which was one of the early senses, often as heraud of armes, though not the earliest in English).


late 14c., "to sound the praises of," from herald (n.). Related: Heralded; heralding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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