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[van-gahrd] /ˈvænˌgɑrd/
the foremost division or the front part of an army; advance guard; van.
the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like.
the leaders of any intellectual or political movement.
(initial capital letter) Rocketry. a U.S. three-stage, satellite-launching rocket, the first two stages powered by liquid-propellant engines and the third by a solid-propellant engine.
Origin of vanguard
1480-90; earlier van(d)gard(e) < Middle French avangarde, variant of avant-garde; see avaunt, guard Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vanguard
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ‘vanguard’ (our ship) was the first which anchored outside, within half pistol-shot of the ‘Spartiate.’

    The Grateful Indian W.H.G. Kingston
  • For a whole month the German vanguard remained on the lookout in the village.

  • "The vanguard of his strength" in the next clause suggests the purely fanciful.

    The Writing of the Short Story Lewis Worthington Smith
  • We are the pioneers, the vanguard, the riskers full of faith and hope.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • Russian thought is in the vanguard of the thought of the world.

    The Forerunners Romain Rolland
British Dictionary definitions for vanguard


the leading division or units of a military force
the leading position in any movement or field, or the people who occupy such a position: the vanguard of modern literature
Word Origin
C15: from Old French avant-garde, from avant- fore- + gardeguard
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 vanguard

mid-15c., vaunt garde, from Middle French avant-garde, from avant "in front" (see avant) + garde "guard" (see guard (n.)). Communist revolutionary sense is recorded from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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