A harbinger is something that comes before and that shows what will follow in the future. The robin is a harbinger of spring––its presence means spring is coming soon.

The appearance of a ghost is often thought of as a harbinger of death. Middle English herbergere is from Old French herbergeor "host," from herberge "camp, shelter," a word ultimately borrowed from a Germanic language.

Definitions of harbinger

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

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

v foreshadow or presage

announce, annunciate, foretell, herald
Type of:
let something be known

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