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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    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
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    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
  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
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘precursor'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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