A forerunner is someone or something that came before and paved the way for something today. Rotary phones were forerunners of today's complex cell phones.

The prefix fore- in forerunner is a clue that this word has to do with things that came before. A forerunner is someone from the past who preceded someone today, making new things possible. In the NBA, players like Wilt Chamberlain were forerunners of centers who played later. Early, gigantic computers were forerunners of today's sleek sophisticated computers. George Washington was a forerunner of every US president who has served since. Make sure to thank forerunners for paving the way for the rest of us slackers.

Definitions of forerunner

n something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone

harbinger, herald, precursor, predecessor
Type of:
indicant, indication
something that serves to indicate or suggest

n anything that precedes something similar in time

Type of:
temporal relation
a relation involving time

n a person who goes before or announces the coming of another

one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
person from an earlier time who contributed to the tradition shared by some group
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

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