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Word of the Day
Friday, October 18, 2002

Definitions for bellwether

  1. A leader of a movement or activity; also, a leading indicator of future trends.

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Citations for bellwether
Raised to believe they were among their generation's best and brightest, my class can be seen as a bellwether for a generation caught without a compass on the cutting edge of uncharted territory. Elizabeth Fishel, Reunion: The Girls We Used to Be, the Women We Became
Before that election, Maine's proud citizens had fancied their state to be a sort of bellwether, a notion embodied in the saying "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." Robert Shogan, The Fate of the Union
Origin of bellwether
late Middle English
1400-1450
Bellwether is a compound of bell and wether, "a male sheep, usually castrated"; from the practice of hanging a bell from the neck of the leader of the flock.