precursor

You've heard the old saying "Pride comes before the fall?" Well, you could just as easily say pride is a precursor to the fall. A precursor is something that happens before something else.

You don't have to be a dead languages scholar to guess that this word springs from a Latin source — praecursor, "to run before." A precursor is usually related to what it precedes. It's a catalyst or a harbinger, leading to what follows or providing a clue that it's going to happen. Binging on holiday candy is a precursor to tummy aches and promises to exercise more. Draconian policies in unstable nations are often a precursor to rebellion.

Definitions of precursor
  1. noun
    something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone
    synonyms: forerunner, harbinger, herald, predecessor
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    types:
    bellwether
    a predictor of indicator of future trends
    type of:
    indicant, indication
    something that serves to indicate or suggest
  2. noun
    a person who goes before or announces the coming of another
    synonyms: forerunner
    see moresee less
    types:
    predecessor
    one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
    forefather
    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
  3. noun
    a substance from which another substance is formed (especially by a metabolic reaction)
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    type of:
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
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